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Addressing the Unintended Consequences of Incarceration Through Community-Oriented Services at the Neighborhood Level

NCJ Number
Corrections Management Quarterly Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: Summer 2001 Pages: 62-71
Date Published
10 pages

This article discussed the data drawn from interviews in Tallahassee, Florida, regarding the impact of incarceration on participants, their families, and their communities.


This article examined the spatial impact of incarceration, and considered how community-oriented services might offset some of the unintended consequences of incarceration. A series of individual and group interviews were conducted in which people living and working in two high-incarceration neighborhoods were asked to discuss the positive and negative ways they thought incarceration affected them, their families, and their communities. Their comments and the analysis were categorized into four domains: stigma, financial impacts, issues on identity, and maintaining interpersonal relationships. The interviews were drawn from interviews in Tallahassee, Florida in 2000 in conjunction with a larger study of two of the city’s high-incarceration neighborhoods. Findings indicated: (1) even though incarceration was widespread, it was still stigmatizing, conveying a negative social status; (2) incarceration had an adverse financial effect on respondents both for families and the communities; (3) people who lived in communities that had high concentrations of residents flowing in and out of prison knew they lived in problem places; and (4) interpersonal networks were disrupted by high rates of incarceration with a reduced capacity for social supports for all concerned. Several programmatic recommendations were presented and included an array of services be offered to family members and the implementation of comprehensive pre-release transition plans addressing the family’s needs and the needs of offenders. The study showed the need for a wide array of services in locations where incarceration concentrates. Areas with high concentrations of incarceration have the fewest resources. Targeting areas rather than types of people would mean easier access to services for families and offenders, as well as less costly. The ideas of community-based service centers associated with identifiable neighborhoods are based on the social science of neighborhood life. References

Date Published: January 1, 2001