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Less Than the Average Citizen: Stigma, Role Transition and the Civic Reintegration of Convicted Felons

Uggen, Christopher
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Shadd Maruna and Russ Immarigeon, eds, After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration. Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 261-293.

In addition to work and family, this chapter suggests that civic reintegration is a third significant reintegrative domain for offenders in contributing to crime desistance. The desire to “be productive and give something back to society” is apparently critical to the crime-desistance process (Maruna, 2001:88). The diverse models of citizenship that have been developed in recent years have, broadly speaking, distinguished two central components: citizenship as a set of entitlements that citizens acquire by virtue of membership in the polity; and citizenship as practice, i.e., something achieved through virtuous action or participation in the community in some way. The obstacle to responsible citizenship by ex-offenders is the legal restriction on both the rights and capacities of ex-offenders to attain full citizenship. Ex-felons face additional barriers as collateral consequences of their felony conviction, including occupational restrictions, loss of parental rights or standing, political disenfranchisement, and other formal and informal social stigma. Moreover, post-release adjustment is made difficult by the abrupt discontinuity between pre-punishment and post-punishment roles and social positions. In an effort to examine these various impediments to civic reintegration, the current student conducted 33 semistructured interviews with convicted felons in Minnesota during the spring of 2001. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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