Cover image for Making it in the "free world" : women in transition from prison
Making it in the "free world" : women in transition from prison
O'Brien, Patricia, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 201 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV9304 .O145 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV9304 .O145 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Explores how women inmates make the transition from prison back into society.

Author Notes

Patricia O'Brien is Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This research study by O'Brien (social work, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago) is based on interviews with 18 women formerly incarcerated for transgressions involving substance abuse or property. She shows how their prison and parole experiences affected their reentry into the "free world" as they sought to establish homes, experience healthy relationships with family and others, and live productive lives. The author found that each woman's degree of stability was strongly related to the availability and quality of education, counseling, and vocational training during her confinement as well as the nature of supervision and assistance from parole officers and others following their release. Among other topics, she ties together a review of related literature, a description of her research strategy, and a serious questioning of the value to society (as well as to the individual) of the current "get tough" incarceration solution to nonviolent "criminal" activity of both sexes. Recommended for academic and professional attention. Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This examination of how female offenders make successful transitions from prison life to a world not confined by walls or fences consists of excerpts from semistructured interviews with 18 formerly incarcerated women, which provide some supporting evidence for the literature review that is a major part of the text. Chapter 1 provides background information on female offenders. Chapter 2 examines the factors--housing, education, and employment--that need to be addressed when a woman is transitioning from prison. Chapter 3 focuses on the greater importance that women place on relationships, which are often disrupted when a woman becomes incarcerated. Chapter 4 analyzes the psychological issues female offenders must address, including abuse, stigma, low self-esteem, and addiction. In chapter 5, O'Brien (social work, Univ. of IL, Chicago) develops a model illustrating the integration of the female offender's internal psychological needs with the external demands of the environment. The author concludes by recommending the development of programs that deal with the multiple needs of incarcerated women, maintenance of positive relationships, training the correctional staff to treat women with dignity and respect, and an examination of alternative sentencing. Graduate students and faculty. M. A. Norton-Hawk Suffolk Universtiy

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Chapter 1 Making It in the "Free World"p. 1
Chapter 2 Establishing Homep. 25
Chapter 3 From the Inside Outp. 53
Chapter 4 Reconstructing Relationshipsp. 87
Chapter 5 It Could Be Otherwisep. 117
Epilogue: Two Years Laterp. 143
Appendix A Research Designp. 149
Appendix B Summary of Study Participantsp. 159
Notesp. 173
Referencesp. 179
Indexp. 195