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Secondary Narratives in the Aftermath of Crime: Defining Family Members' Relationships with Prisoners

NCJ Number
Punishment & Society Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2011 Pages: 379-402
Date Published
October 2011
24 pages
This study examined the relationships of incarcerated individuals with family members.
In the research presented here, the authors apply the storyline framework of the criminal event to the secondary narrative of prisoners' relationships with family members before and during incarceration, and their plans for life upon release from prison. Analyzing 29 in-depth interviews from 13 inmate/family dyads and 1 inmate/family triad, the authors examine multiple views of the impact of incarceration and its consequences for the incarcerated individual, the family member, and their connections to each other. The authors demonstrate that these relationships follow three distinct yet intersecting secondary narratives - disrupted, transforming, and precarious - characterized by different qualities of pre-incarceration relationships, impacts on family members' lives, and plans for the future. Defining the characteristics of these narratives is important because each narrative has specific implications for the family member's willingness and capacity to support the prisoner and potentially limit future offending behavior. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: October 1, 2011