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New Dissertations on U.S. Correctional Supervision

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Editor’s Note: Today’s post showcasing new research related to American correctional supervision caps a week’s worth of highlights from the subjects of drug law enforcement and implementation. These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography compiled by Jonathon Erlen, which was formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but is now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

The Collateral Consequence of the War on Drugs: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of Daughters who Experienced Paternal Incarceration as a Result of the War on Drugs

Author: Clayton, Karima Ann

Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to examine the lived experience of adult daughters whom had fathers incarcerated when they were in middle childhood as a result of a drug related offense. According to statistics, the United States criminal justice system currently houses nearly 2.3 million individuals, an increase of nearly 500 percent in the last 30 years. While African-Americans make up approximately 13 percent of the current population in the United States, they make up nearly half of the incarcerated population. Many believe that the War on Drugs has contributed to the increase in the numbers of individuals incarcerated and to the sentencing disparities which exist. In 1980, approximately 41,000 individuals were incarcerated due to a drug related offense and estimates indicate that this number is now nearly half a million. With the staggering numbers of individuals who are currently incarcerated, many have begun to examine the collateral consequence of incarceration which is the effect on family members. Research conducted relating to family members has focused on the physical, behavioral, as well as psychological effects of the incarceration on the family member. A primary area of study related to how incarceration impacts families has focused on children of incarcerated parents and statistics estimate that nearly ten million children have experienced having a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives. In addition, approximately 90 percent of incarcerated parents are fathers and Black children are eight or nine times more likely than White children to have an incarcerated parent. Minimal research exists which allows the child to share the experience in their own words and no research exists specifically examining the experience of children solely impacted by the War on Drugs. The current study was exploratory in nature and examined the experience of and effects of paternal incarceration as experienced by daughters whose fathers were incarcerated when they were in middle childhood as a result of a drug related offense. Interviews were conducted with 10 participants and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was utilized to analyze the collected data. IPA is a type of qualitative data analysis which provides in depth examination of human lived experience. During the analysis five superordinate themes were identified which included The Need for Transparency- “I just wanted to know the truth”, The Broken Family Unit- The Father’s Absence, The Stain of Incarceration – “Life was never the same”, Buffers and Barriers to Adjustment, and Becoming Independent – Fear of Relying on Others. In addition, subthemes were identified within the superordinate themes which captured the uniqueness of the participant experience of paternal incarceration. Results revealed some similarities in experience and also confirmed how different the experience of individuals can be who experience paternal incarceration. Implications for practice are also discussed.

Degree date: 2015

Advisor: Carter, Robert T.

University/institution: Columbia University

Department: Counseling Psychology

Building upon the razor wire women’s program by incorporating experiential therapy interventions to treat addictions in women in prison

Author: Harris, Alma

Abstract: This project examined the need for more effective treatment programs to meet the needs of women in prison with addictions. The International Centre for Prison Studies has shown that America has the largest number of people incarcerated, with females being the fastest growing population (Zust, 2009). The Bureau of Justice Statistic indicated 37% of women prisoners in the United States had been raped before incarceration, and 50% had physical and sexual abuse over their lifetime (Zust, 2009). Other studies have shown women in prison suffer from disturbing effects of violence that are linked with prolonged and intense depression precipitated by substance addiction (Zust, 2009). The Developmental Research Utilization Model (DRU) was used to design this project to add to an already existing treatment program that addresses the need for treatment of women inmates with mental health issues precipitated by substance abuse. Data collections and analysis were collected from other documentary resources such as journal articles, text books, and governmental publications. Research indicated the prison system is geared toward restraint and subdual, and women with mental health and trauma needs are being overlooked. To aid in identifying the problem for lack of treatment programs, the current research focused on the need for treatment programs in the prison system. The design process addressed issues concerning the Razor Wire Women Program, especially in the treatment of women imprisoned and suffering from substance abuse problems.

Degree date: 2015

Advisor: Valch, Amy

Committee member: Ellison, Dawn; Southern, Stephen

University/institution: Mississippi College

Department: Professional Counseling

Themes from the Essays of Participants Who Completed the Orange County Drug Court Program: A Qualitative Study

Author: Nicholson, Sarah R.

Abstract: The purpose of the present qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences of participants who had graduated from the Adult Drug Court Program in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Grounded Theory was utilized and data was analyzed using the Constant Comparative Method. There were ten participants in the present study, all of which had completed the requirements of the Drug Court Program and successfully graduated. The researcher analyzed the written essays of ten participants who met the inclusion criteria, consisting of 5 written essays each, including the final Graduation speech. There were thirteen major themes pertaining to the participant’s experience in the drug court program and four minor themes. The major themes that emerged from the study were: chaotic or neglectful upbringing, honeymoon period with drugs and alcohol, to escape or numb emotions, “The Party is Over”, consequences of the drug and alcohol lifestyle, positive sense of self, hope and future-oriented thinking, gaining back the things lost, honesty, the role of the judge, the role of therapy, the role of the support system; and drug court was a long and hard journey. Potential limitations, implications for practitioners, and suggestions for future research based on the findings are discussed.

Degree date: 2015

Advisor: Bucky, Steven F.

Committee member: Horvath, A. Thomas; Madero, James N.

University/institution: Alliant International University

Department: San Diego, CSPP


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