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The relationship between emotional state and other variables influencing successful reintegration of ex-prisoners

Abstract

This study investigated the multiple, complex, dynamic and interactive variables influencing successful reintegration of ex-prisoners, with a particular focus on the role of emotional state in the reintegration process. This involved conduct of a survey to a large group of prisoners approaching release and subsequently following release from prisons in Victoria and Queensland. Participants were 101 adult prisoners who completed a pre-release questionnaire one month prior to their release that focused on prison-related variables, participant background, and anticipated conditions upon release. A post-release questionnaire was administered to the same participants at one to four weeks and three to four months post-release, focusing on the quality of life conditions experienced following release. As well, the Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory were completed at each interview. Of interest, was the level and degree of change in prisoner ratings of depression, anxiety, and anger at pre-release and extending over the post-release period. As well, the strength of relationship between emotional state and the main variables influencing reintegration was investigated; that is, the degree to which reintegration variables (such as social support, drug use, post-release program participation, rated health) are associated with depression, anxiety, and anger among ex-prisoners. The report commences with the description of an ecological model of community reintegration that enables the main variables that may influence reintegration of ex-prisoners to be easily conceptualised and understood. A review of the international and Australian literature relevant to community reintegration of ex-prisoners is then presented, consistent with this conceptual framework, with a specific emphasis on the role of emotional state in post-release outcomes for this group. In the second section, the study design and method are described, with the results presented in the third section. The fourth and final section of the report includes a discussion of the results, implications for reintegration theory, and practical implications for promoting successful reintegration of ex-prisoners.

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