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The carceral city : parolee experiences of reintegration into community Murphy, Jennifer 2002

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THE C A R C E R A L CITY Parolee Experiences of Reintegration into Community  by  Jennifer Murphy B.S.W., University College of the Cariboo, 1999  THESIS SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF SOCIAL W O R K in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (School of Social Work and Family Studies)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  The University of British Columbia July 2002 © Jennifer Murphy, 2002  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  School of Social Work and Family Studies The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  ABSTRACT  This study explored and described the experiences of parolees in reintegrating into the community after their release from prison. It focuses on the process of reintegration from the perspective of the parolees themselves. The study was framed within the theoretical perspectives of Critical Theory (Habermas and Foucault), criminological theory and the narrative approach. Using a qualitative approach, three federal parolees were interviewed about the process of reintegration. A collective case study approach within the instrumental case study model was used. Participants were selected from a group of federal parolees living in a city in the Interior of British Columbia, and they were recruited for inclusion in the study through the Correctional Service of Canada. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed by the researcher, and data was analyzed using narrative analysis techniques. Findings involved an evaluation of the barriers/aids to reintegration, formal/informal services used, and community attitudes to parolees. The most significant finding focused on the parolees' "hidden" identity within the community and their "insider'V'outsider" status. Implications for social work practice are discussed and also future research directions, including strategies to include the narratives of parolees in a reformulated community mediation process.  n  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  Table of Contents.  iii  Acknowledgements  v  Foreword  vi  Introduction  1  Chapter One: Literature Review  5  Contextualizing Concepts Definition of Community Philosophical Context Criminological Perspectives Narrative Mediation Past Research NIMBYism Reintegration Issues  5 5 7 12 14 18 18 19  Chapter Two: Methodology Research Question Research Design Data Collection.... Sampling Ethical Issues Validity Data Analysis Design Limitations Dissemination of Findings  23 23 23 25 25 27 28 29 31 31  Chapter Three: Findings: Three Narratives Background Bill's Narrative Summary Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Family Support Community Attitudes Other Issues  33 33 34 35 37 37 39 40 41 iii  Jim's Narrative Summary Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Family Support Community Attitudes Other Issues Colin's Narrative. Summary Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Family Support Community Attitudes Other Issues  42 43 45 45 47 48 49 51 51 53 53 55 56 58  Chapter Four: Discussion Narrative Analysis Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Family Support. Community Attitudes Other Issues Conclusion Barriers/Aids to Reintegration Personal Identity and Community Membership Educational Initiatives to Promote Inclusiveness Issues that Affect Marginalized Groups  60 60 67 67 69 70 71 73 73 75 76 76  Conclusion  78  Directions for Future Research  80  References  82  Appendix A - Interview Guide  87  Appendix B - Agency Consent Form  89  Appendix C - Recruitment Letter  92  Appendix D - Participant Consent Form  95  Appendix E - Ethics Approval Certificate  98  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Christopher Walmsley and Dr. Linda Deutschmann for their considerable encouragement and support throughout the lengthy process of researching and writing this thesis. I would also like to thank Dr. Edward Kruk for his assistance, in particular, his Family Mediation course, which introduced me to the concept of narrative mediation. Finally, I would like to thank Lorrie Kelsey, Senior Parole Officer, for her assistance in facilitating the research project.  v  FOREWORD M y interest in this area of study has developed over the course of fifteen years, in which I have been involved in prison justice issues, for example, prison programming in the area of education. I have also worked as a volunteer in the library program at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre for the Elizabeth Fry Society. In addition, I have edited two books on prison issues: Sentences and Paroles: A Prison Reader (1998) (with P. J. Murphy) and Paroled for Life: Interviews with Parolees Serving Life Sentences (in press) (with P. J. Murphy and L. Johnsen). M y interests have evolved over a period of time to focus on rehabilitation and reintegration issues, and in particular how ex-inmates reconstruct their lives on the outside after serving lengthy prison terms. Reintegration issues, however, also involve community response and reaction, and it is the interaction between the community and ex-inmates that can determine the difference between rehabilitation and recidivism. I have used Foucault's term "the carceral city" to describe this dialectic between "outsider" and community. This is the area of research which the present study focuses on, and one which I would like to explore further.  vi  INTRODUCTION Public concern about crime and criminals has escalated over the past decade, in direct contrast to the declining crime rate. At the same time, community perceptions have grown that criminals are becoming more violent and more likely to re-offend, while the justice system is perceived to treat criminals more leniently (Deutschmann, 1998). In addition, community resistance to the integration of "others" has hardened considerably for certain categories of "outsiders", particularly ex-inmates. Although most inmates are released into the community after serving their sentence, either through early release programs, parole or probation, one of the major barriers they face, especially those serving long sentences, is how to reintegrate into the community upon release. In the debate around community reintegration, their voices are seldom heard. This study explores and describes their experiences of community reintegration. Since the 1980's, conflict within communities has increased dramatically when deinstitutionalization became government policy at both the federal and provincial levels (Wharf, 1990). As federal responsibilities for social programs have been downloaded, onto provincial governments and then onto municipalities, resistance to the reintegration of ex-inmates, ex-psychiatric patients, ex-substance abusers, and the homeless has increased. The proliferation of halfway houses as an aid to reintegration has led to increased community resistance, and the perception has grown that communities have reached a saturation point in integrating "outsiders". Ex-inmates and those released into the community on probation or parole are particularly vulnerable to public discrimination and distrust. A growing but erroneous perception that the justice system is "soft" on criminals, that violence is increasing, and  1  that rehabilitation efforts are misguided has led to increased stereotyping of ex-inmates as incorrigible and undeserving of community help. Much of the argument for resistance to a halfway house proposal in the specific community studied focused on the idea that parole itself should be abolished. This hardening of attitudes towards disadvantaged groups has resulted in increased NIMBYism (Not In M y Backyard Syndrome). In the community under study, some members suggested that the halfway house should simply be relocated to another community in the region where similar facilities already exist. The purpose of this exploratory case study is to describe the process of reintegration from the perspectives of three parolees, using narrative analysis, so that their voices can be added to the often contentious debate about community reintegration. The experience of the process of reintegration from the point of view of the study participants provides information and knowledge about the barriers/aids to integration. This will be useful to social agencies currently providing services to excluded "outsiders" within the community. A n exploration of parolee experiences adds another perspective on the issues of personal identity, community membership, NIMBYism, halfway house/social housing, and community mediation efforts. These are discussed below. Researchers can give voice to otherwise silenced individuals and groups by collecting personal narratives of a non-elite/oppressed group to allow them to become the subjects rather than the objects of research and discussion (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). Parolee narratives provide powerful oppositional stories, which recount the experiences of non-elite "others" as a counterpoint to the dominant discourse around criminal/deviant behavior (Hinchman & Hinchman, 1997). The narratives of parolees have not been added to the considerable debate around rehabilitation services available. Agencies and  2  community groups involved have spoken for the parolees rather than allowing them to speak for themselves (for example, the John Howard Society, the Correctional Service of Canada) in the community under study. This exploratory study may also provide information from the perspective of marginalized individuals that could lead to the development of new educational initiatives to promote inclusiveness in the community and dispel some of the myths about ex-inmates that have limited their acceptance into the community. The study of parolee narratives can also provide a starting point for the exploration of other disempowered voices within community. It can raise a number of issues affecting other marginalized groups in their efforts to become accepted members of a community. For example, can reintegration only be effected by concealing the true nature and identity of these "outsiders"? The parolees interviewed for this study did not reveal their status as parolees to many people in the community; rather, they carefully screened their acquaintances and colleagues before revealing their identity. Often, they decided not to reveal their status to co-workers or neighbors, preferring to remain "hidden" within the general population. While it may be possible for some categories of "outsiders" to maintain anonymity, other marginalized groups, for example, visible minorities or the disabled are compelled to confront their "outsider" status within the community on a daily basis and may have to develop different strategies for integration. Finally, gathering the narratives of 'outsiders" is fundamentally important to develop an understanding of the issue of reintegration and, concomitantly, citizenship/community membership, rejection of "outsiders", halfway house/social housing issues and community mediation. Ultimately, the role of narrative analysis in this  3  context is to uncover previously silenced voices to develop a new understanding and definition of community from the perspective of the marginalized individuals themselves.  4  C H A P T E R ONE - LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction This chapter describes a number of research areas surrounding the issue of community reintegration of offenders, firstly by discussing the contextualizing concepts of the study through a definition of community, philosophical and theoretical approaches (including Habermas), the criminological perspective, and the narrative mediation approach. These theoretical underpinnings lay the groundwork for the approach taken in the research study to interview the parolees themselves about their experiences of reintegration. Past research is also discussed, focusing on the N I M B Y phenomenon and existing research on parolee reintegration. Contextualizing Concepts Definition of Community Clearly, it is the way a community defines itself that leads inexorably to a definition of "outsider'V'insider". A n analysis of citizenship and community from a structural perspective involves an explanation of the "good citizen" and the "common good" (Kingwell, 2000; Leonard, 1997; Taylor, 1991) that can be defined in instrumental terms within an anti-oppressive approach. Freire's (1997) description of the silencing of the oppressed or "other" as a process of dehumanization, along with Carniol (1995) and Mullaly's (1997) structural approach to discrimination and oppression, provide an analysis of how the "other'V'outsider" is created and maintained in capitalist societies to serve the interests of the oppressors. Modern communities have to struggle to balance competing rights, in particular, the rights of the individual as compared to the rights of the collective. Etzioni (1995),  5  laying a framework for the communitarian approach, suggests that communities should be built from a shared, moral vision that reflects community standards. This moral vision is posited within the family, which he regards as the basic unit of all communities. While he argues for the articulation of "the diverse moral voices of citizens" (p.22), it is difficult to evaluate how this diversity could be expressed in practice, and it is the silence of a non-elite, powerless group in society that resonates in this discussion of reintegration issues. The communitarian perspective (Etzioni, 1995; Oaks, 1995) does not appear to offer empowerment to individuals to become fully equal and participating members of a community. The essential nature of democracy, that it serves majority rights rather than minority interests, is exemplified in the grassroots action campaigns that defeat proposals for social housing or halfway houses. The struggle for minority rights, even in a supposedly pluralistic country like Canada, is a continuous process. Taylor (1991) argues that without a "vigorous political culture" (p.9) democracy will eventually give way to a form of benevolent despotism in which individuals will remain mired in self-absorption and private concerns rather than political activity. However, for Freire (1997), some citizens have never been part of the body politic, and ex-inmates would be a prime example of such a group. For example, they are denied the fundamental right to vote while incarcerated. Every action designed to bring about self-awareness and selfactualization on the part of these oppressed individuals becomes a political action: even an interview that allows a parolee to provide his perspective on the reintegration experience.  6  Wharf (1990) analyzes the increasing polarization within communities from a structuralist perspective, and describes the downloading of responsibility for social programs from the federal government to the provinces and finally to municipalities. He sees this as the source of increasing divisiveness and resistance to perceived "outsiders" in communities. He argues further that while federal and provincial government policy from the 1980's categorized deinstitutionalization as a social goal, the release of inmates from psychiatric facilities and institutions has increased conflict in communities rather than integration and acceptance. The government policy of deinstitutionalization was, moreover, driven ultimately by financial considerations rather than social planning goals. The policy was essentially imposed on communities without consultation. Wharf (1992) describes the closure of an institution for developmentally delayed adults and children in 1983 in a city in the Interior of British Columbia as an example of poor planning and top-down decision-making. The British Columbia government did not consult with any community groups before or after announcing the closure of the institution. The legacy of that process is still apparent in the community, where resistance to the placement of a halfway house has focused on the idea of "saturation"; that is, the community has already done more than enough to absorb former patients from the institution in the 1980's without receiving any more "outsiders". Philosophical Context Balancing individual and collective rights is clearly an extremely difficult task, and one that has become more urgent in public discourse as special interest groups have discovered that they can change government policy at every level through the concerted action of a small minority of community members. The proliferation of N I M B Y i s m is an  7  example of how movements for social change can be paralyzed by a vocal and committed opposition movement. By placing this controversy within the debate about the "common good", however, it becomes possible to analyze not only the specific group opposition to social change, but also the nature of capitalism and the class structure that condones inter and intra-class antagonism. A n examination of this issue from a structural perspective necessarily involves an analysis of the political, social and economic factors within capitalism that have led to systemic inequalities. Leonard (1997) argues from a postmodern perspective, however, that while classic Marxism reduced every analysis of oppression and disadvantage to a purely economic base, a simplistic reductionist approach to positing all analyses solely within the context of global capitalism will not suffice as an explanatory model. He argues instead that the development of a "politics of difference" (p.l 1), which focuses on excluded voices rather than dominant discourses has led to new considerations of the origins of oppression. Mullaly (1997) describes the link between modernism and postmodernism as focused on three areas: firstly, both approaches criticize the current social order; secondly, that both have developed alternate visions for how society should be organized on more emancipatory/egalitarian lines; and thirdly, both involve practical change and the involvement of marginalized groups in effecting change. He argues further that the development of Critical Theory from its Marxist origins to the Frankfurt School and through the work of Habermas has retained its original intent which is to liberate marginalized groups who are oppressed by the ignorance of their condition. He also states  8  that Critical Theory differs from other traditional social theories precisely in its commitment to change society and emancipate the oppressed. McCarthy (1998) describes the development of Critical Theory by Habermas from the 1960's onward as an attempt to provide a theory of communication which focuses on communicative action, that is, how human beings should interact with each other. Habermas (1989) argues that the activity of the state should be monitored by informed, critical, public discourse by the governed, while recognizing that the present state of capitalism provides a fundamental contradiction between the proclamation of human rights and the actual restriction of those rights to certain classes of people only. McCarthy (1998) argues further that Habermas analyses the legitimation crisis evident in modern capitalism: the conflict between the social-welfare responsibilities of mass democracies and the economic inequities of the capitalist system. The effects of the global capitalist marketplace have further reduced the parameters of individual state action. The result is economic instability, unequal distribution of resources, and the breakdown of the politics of reform. The side-effects of capitalism, therefore, produce the inequalities and oppression so apparent in modern societies. Leonard (1997) describes Habermas' approach to emancipation as focusing on a concept of reason and rationality based on egalitarian communication and the development of consensus while recognizing differences and diversity among populations. Rossiter (1995) further argues that Habermas' ideas can be applied to social work practice so that disempowered individuals can be assisted to speak to facilitate their sense of authorship. Foucault's (1980) analysis of power relations: the determination of whose narrative/experience is privileged and  9  whose is excluded through the discourse of language also provides a useful perspective on the "outsider" role in society. Benhabib (1990) extends this argument to include a discussion of the model of communicative ethics as described by Habermas which can, in her view, lead not only to a moral theory which is concerned with questions of justice, but which can also address the issue of the common good. She states that communicative ethics can lead to the development of argumentative processes which can differentiate between individual conceptions of "the good to be freely pursued" (p. 16) and shared values and norms which should be developed collectively. This argument addresses some of the complexities of the halfway house/reintegration issue, especially the competing interests of the parolees, the residents of the area, the municipal government and the social service agencies, while positing the debate in the area not of individual concerns but of collective responsibility for all members of society. Mullaly (1997) argues that the nature of capitalism with its boom and bust cycles has led inevitably to the creation of an underclass of unemployed and underemployed workers who have become particularly vulnerable to exploitation by corporate elites in the last decade as the capitalist system has undergone a prolonged crisis. This reorganization of the labor market has led to increased marginalization of historically disadvantaged groups: women, immigrants, visible minorities. In addition, other members of society deemed "unproductive", for example, ex-inmates, are categorized not only as undeserving of community care and help, but are also denied membership in the community.  10  Furthermore, Carniol (1995) argues that the capitalist hegemony creates a dichotomy in every arena of public/private life between men and women, rich and poor, upper and lower classes. This analysis is in direct contradiction to the idea of the welfare state as a benign entity, seeking to alleviate inequality through the redistribution of resources. B y defining parolees as the "undeserving poor", residents groups can reject halfway houses and other reintegration proposals through the use of moral justification. This issue is further complicated, however, by another argument put forward by some opponents; namely, that working class areas of cities already bear a disproportionate amount of social housing, psychiatric facilities and group homes compared to wealthier districts. Rather than building class solidarity, halfway house proposals have led to intraclass antagonism and arguments about perceived indifference to and exploitation of these areas by municipal politicians and local social service agencies. The conflict perspective also provides a useful analysis of social issues from a structural perspective. The underlying tenet is that while society consists of a system of interrelated parts, there are no shared values and beliefs that link people together; rather, there are competing groups vying for power and resources (Mullaly, 1997). The dominant group has imposed its ideology on society, which has resulted in the capitalist hegemony of structured inequality. This inequality has led to the hardening of community attitudes towards the poor and the marginalized, defining "others" and ex-inmates in particular as undeserving of community help. A n analysis of the various groups in a community competing for power and resources may therefore reveal some of the underlying attitudes and concerns about social issues within the community, for example, allocation of funds for the various marginalized groups (ex-inmates, the homeless, ex-psychiatric patients)  11  and who should control those funds (church groups, charities, non-profit agencies, government agencies). By analyzing social problems from the standpoint of inequality, oppression and alienation, the labeling of individuals as "deviants" and "criminals" can then be seen as a form of social control which serves to further oppress and marginalize certain groups in society, most obviously the poor. Community attitudes towards parolees as pariahs and outcasts have fueled the idea that discrimination against ex-inmates is not only understandable but a common-sense response to crime. Criminological Perspective While the structuralist perspective analyzes community attitudes towards exinmates in terms of class and oppression, criminological perspectives have also focused on societal attitudes towards "outlaws". A.Young (1996) argues that community itself depends upon the idea of deviants or "textual outlaws" (p. 10) for its definition. Essentially, community members are bound together by their fear of the criminal or "outsider" who must be sacrificed to maintain the perception of community. This definition of community depends upon the idea of community members as law-abiding citizens who are threatened by the "criminaPV'outsider". In this sense, all community members are designated as "victims" of the "criminals", and it is that designation of shared victimization which binds community together. While this is a more postmodern approach than a structuralist approach to crime and community (fear of criminals in this analysis transcends class barriers), there is a certain validity to the definition of community in purely negative terms. For example, community consists of those who are not poor, not criminal, not a visible minority, Not in M y Backyard.  12  In addition, criminological theory has also become concerned with the politics of exclusion. J. Young (1999) argues that the "dialetics of exclusion" include economic exclusion from the workforce, social exclusion in communities, and exclusion through the punitive nature of the criminal justice system. He argues further that the politics of exclusion leads to a false sense of community solidarity which is achieved through denigrating "outsiders'V'others" (J. Young, 2001). Similarly, Crawford (1999) describes the shift in criminological studies in the last twenty years from criminals to crime, that is, from people to places, which has led to an examination of the definition of community as a collective entity whose reason for existence is to repel "outsiders". Within this discourse, community is deemed to be a homogenous entity in which "outsiders" are easily identified and excluded from community membership. The politics of exclusion extends to access to schooling, employment and housing. Burney (1999) also discusses how public anxiety about crime, fuelled by media reports, has led to entrenched visions of insecurity in the public perception. She examines how this perception has led to the adoption of exclusionary policies in social housing, which have created a class of housing outcasts. Foucault (1979) in his analysis of the change from the public spectacle of torture in pre-Enlightenment Europe to the hidden control of deviance through the use of imprisonment in the 19 century describes the pattern of normalization employed to force th  deviants to conform both economically and politically to capitalist society. Deviance is therefore controlled through the use of prison. Furthermore, 19 century economic forces led ultimately to two possible choices: the "carceral city" (p. 293), that is, integration of criminals/deviants into society, or the closed system, that is, prison, which conformed, of  13  course, to the other institutions already in place, that is, schools, factories (Foucault, 1979). The carceral city would involve criminals remaining part of the community where they would be reintegrated and rehabilitated. Essentially, they would remain citizens of their community undergoing a normalization process that would result in their eventual conforming to community norms. The prison, in contrast, involves the hidden control of "deviants", outside their community, within a closed system. The emphasis on control, punishment and isolation of "others'V'deviants" remains consistent to the present day, and there appears to be little public support for prison reform or the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into the community. The definition of "other" in terms of class, race or gender can be posited within the structural issues of oppression and discrimination (Mullaly, 1997). However, one of the issues that it is important to address in the discussion of this problem is that while decisions are made on behalf of and about parolees in this community, they themselves are denied a voice in the discussion. Freire (1997) describes the silencing of the oppressed or "other" as a process of dehumanization. The voices of individual parolees have not been heard; they cannot claim a legitimate platform to disseminate their views. Further, the process of the debate about reintegration does not allow for any input from those most affected: the parolees themselves. Narrative Mediation Narrative mediation is a dispute resolution approach that differs from the problem-solving approach of mainstream mediation because it assumes that conflict is constructed through the development of narratives which describe life events (Winslade & Monk, 2000). The narrative approach attempts to reconstruct relationships without  14  conflict by assisting participants to develop narratives based on understanding, respect and collaboration. Participants are asked to reflect on the narratives that they have developed and encouraged to change their stories to open up the possibilities for resolution. This approach can be used in private disputes, for example, divorce or separation issues, as well as for communities to address controversial issues. The emphasis is less on problem-solving and resolution than on changing attitudes and perceptions, and encouraging tolerance. The narratives from the parolees could be added to the community mediation process using the narrative mediation perspective. This approach involves an intervention into the heart of individual beliefs about society; that is, the stories people tell about themselves to explain themselves to others, and, ultimately, to themselves (Winslade & Monk, 2000). In contrast, the problem-solving, mainstream model is concerned with uncovering underlying positions and interests, and negotiating within a solution-focused framework (Moore, 1986). The focus is on the future rather the past. To date, the narrative model has not been tested in a controversial, community mediation situation that involves the placement of a halfway house or similar facility in a neighborhood. The narrative approach attempts to determine the social and cultural context of an issue rather than trying to determine individual needs, interests and positions in a conflict. There is no determination of right or wrong, and no blaming, but rather an emphasis on understanding differences within social relations. A mediator working from a narrative approach explores the participants' narratives within a social context that empowers some groups and disempowers others (White & Epston, 1990; Winslade, Monk & Cotter,  15  1998). The goal would be to restart the community mediation process using the parolees' narratives to present a more complete picture of the community. The narrative approach to mediation posits that conflict, from a post-modern perspective, involves the recognition of the differences between people (Winslade, Monk & Cotter, 1998). These differences are reflected in the narratives that people develop to explain and make sense of their differences. Conflict can then be seen as an inevitable result of difference. The mediator in this model has to deconstruct the dominant discourse to widen the options available for participants who have framed their conflict within a social context that defines and limits possible action. In other words, the mediator has to reframe the possibilities to allow for new definitions and options. Relations of power determine whose narrative or experience is privileged, and whose is excluded, through the discourse of language (Foucault, 1980). To date, parolee narratives have not been included in the mainstream model of mediation. Rossiter (1995) argues that Habermas' ideas can be applied to social work practice so that a narrative can be built, based on justice and compassion, when participants are able to speak and listen in the intersubjective contexts in which cultures and, concomitantly, lives are made. The aim is not to direct participants into a particular discourse, as it is impossible to know in advance what the outcome of speaking and listening will be. The narrative model can be used in community mediation, particularly where groups and individuals have developed complex narratives over time to explain their opposition to "outsiders" in the community. Narrative mediation could assist to move citizens beyond entrenched positions to seek more complex narrative structures to determine how community members relate to one another and to uncover the social and  16  cultural context of "outsiders". Further, narrative theory challenges these stereotypical definitions of participants to move into more complex discussions of power-relations within a narrative structure, so that a deeper understanding of issues, along with growth and healing, could be achieved. While Pavlich (1996) argues that community itself is a mobile entity rather than a homogenous group of individuals with similar goals and interests, in a postmodern, Foucauldian discourse, community mediation can create empowered individuals who are capable of choice and who strengthen the community. Franklin Dukes (1996) argues further that public conflict resolution must go beyond the settlement of disputes and have as its aim the transformation of community through the use of consensus, openness and inclusiveness. He states that conflict within communities involves a re-evaluation of human relations and relationships leading to strategies for how communities can be sustained. The use of narrative mediation can open up new approaches to community conflict that involve a redefinition of community itself. By including the narratives of parolees as "experts" of their own lives, valuable information about their experiences can be used to mediate community conflict. It can also help to influence policy decisions at the community level and the correctional level to assist their reintegration into community. This study is an attempt to include previously excluded experiences from a marginalized group who face considerable difficulties in returning to their community upon release from prison.  17  Past Research NIMBYism The issue of NIMBYism (Not in M y Backyard Syndrome) has been extensively studied, but from the point of view of the community, property values and rights, and social service agencies, without the perspective of the people most affected by the decision. In addition, most current research on NIMBYism deals with community resistance to the placement of roads and power plants in a community, and essentially entails community vs. government/planning process/environmental concerns (Burningham, 2000; DeChaine, 1998). Research on NIMBYism, as it applies to social housing, group homes or halfway houses is scarce, and there is almost no published research on halfway houses for parolees. Therefore, I have included studies on community resistance to houses for ex-psychiatric patients, developmentally delayed adults and AIDS patients in this literature review. Most literature on the subject of NIMBYism is descriptive rather than prescriptive; Benzvy-Miller (1990) discusses a halfway house proposal in Newfoundland in 1975 that was defeated in a similar manner to the proposal in this community, that is, by community opposition and municipal indecision. Repper and Brooker (1996), Runyan and Faria (1992) and Cheung (1990) describe similar opposition to the siting of residential facilities for the mentally ill and/or mentally challenged in neighborhoods. Like Benzvy-Miller (1990), they suggest that education is the key to changing community attitudes. Balin (1999), in a description of the siting of an AIDS care facility in a residential setting, analyses the neighborhood response through participant interviews and concludes that class/status issues most affected community acceptance or  18  rejection of the proposal. Again, the voices of the AIDS patients themselves were not included. Takahashi (1998), in a similar study, documents the rising demand for facilities in conjunction with the rising tide of effective community opposition to non-market housing and focuses on a lack of commitment at the planning/municipal level. Overall, there seems to be a consensus that public education is essential to changing attitudes and dispelling myths; however, there is little prescriptive detail on how to change public attitudes once they have become polarized by controversy within the community. In addition, the decision not to include the opinions of those most affected (parolees, ex-psychiatric patients, AIDS patients) underlines the exclusion of these groups from community membership. Instead, I propose that the narratives of the "outsiders" are equally important to develop an overall understanding of the issue, and that qualitative research studies can, through the interview process, uncover previously silenced voices to develop a new understanding and definition of community. Reintegration Issues Reintegration of offenders into community has been studied mainly from the perspective of increased/decreased recidivism rates and funded by government ministries and agencies, such as the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the SolicitorGeneral. Thurber (1998) evaluated current practices in community reintegration in terms of public perceptions of crime and criminals. He suggests that the CSC revise its communication strategies for offender reintegration programs, targeting non-profit organizations, Citizens Advisory Committees and volunteer groups. While acknowledging that there is growing public concern around reintegration issues, he  19  suggests, essentially, that a more effective public relations campaign may allay public concerns. Sinclair, Boe and Dell (1998), in a quantitative study, discuss the Skills for Employment Program, as a useful tool for building reintegration skills for ex-inmates, noting that the employability of an ex-inmate is correlated to a lower risk of recidivism and, therefore, a successful reintegration into community. Brown and Zamble (1998) evaluate community supervision practices for federal parolees. They focus on Multisystemic Therapy (MST), a systems-ecological approach that targets chronic juvenile offenders to reduce antisocial behaviors and assist in successful reintegration. They argue that MST could be applied equally successfully to high-risk adult offenders to assist in reintegration, along with other relapse-prevention programs. Further, Motiuk (1998), Sepejak (1998), Grant (1998) and Larocque (1998) focused on recidivism rates for parolees released into the community using quantitative analysis of national statistics. Motiuk (1998) discusses how the CSC profiles offenders released into community and assesses risk factors based on age, gender, substance abuse history, educational qualification and employment status. He argues that the profiling programs reduce recidivism rates by clearly defining risk factors for release. Sepejak (1998) evaluates the success of parole decisions for offenders in Ontario. She examined parole decisions to determine the relationship between recidivism levels and parole grant rates, and determined that parolees had a lower recidivism rate than those ex-inmates released directly into community without parole. Similarly, Larocque (1998) examines parole and recidivism rates from federal offenders across Canada. He found that recidivism rates are significantly lower for parolees than for offenders released  20  directly released into community, but like Sepejak (1998) offers no definitive solution to why reintegration is more successful for inmates released on parole. Grant (1998) also found that the use of day parole was an effective transition to full-parole and release into the community and significantly reduced recidivism rates. Luciani (2001) and Motiuk and Nafekh (2001) both analyze instruments used by the CSC to evaluate risk factors for failure or successful reintegration into community. Luciani (2001) discusses the Custody Rating Scale over a ten-year period. The CRS is a twelve-item instrument that assesses the institutional adjustment and public safety risks of every inmate in the federal system. He argues that its use has contributed to safe reintegration into community, based on national statistics of recidivism rates. Motiuk and Nafekh (2001) evaluated programs to assess release risk at intake and produce a profile of inmates for classification purposes. They argue that accurate use of the assessment tools aids successful reintegration and lowers recidivism rates. McMurray (1993) also used a quantitative approach to recidivism in his analysis of the transitional process and factors that had an impact on the adjustment of 377 parolees in their return to community life. The parolees indicated in a survey that they wanted to change their lifestyle and were motivated when released; however, factors that hindered readjustment included community issues, for example, discrimination, and individual factors, for example, low self-esteem, drug use. In total, 13.5% returned to prison within a two-year period of time. Duigid (2000), in a comprehensive study of the Simon Fraser University Prison Education Program through its twenty-year history (1972-1992), argues that rehabilitation of offenders can be successfully implemented through university education  21  in the prisons themselves. He draws on statistical data, some prison interviews, and his own experiences of teaching in prison to argue that university education can provide a process of self-transformation through empowerment, communication of values and the formation of new interests to aid in successful reintegration into community upon release. This study is, essentially, a quantitative analysis of recidivism rates for offenders who engaged in prison education, in conjunction with a defense of a liberal arts/humanities curriculum. Qualitative studies of the actual experiences of parolee reintegration in the community were not found. Conclusion This chapter reviewed the contextualizing concepts used to frame the research study as well as existing literature in the area of NIMBYism and parolee reintegration. Contextualizing concepts included the definition of community from a structural perspective, and the application of Critical Theory, in particular, Habermas' theory of communicative ethics to describe the possibility of the emancipation of the marginalized within community through communicative action. In addition, criminological perspectives were also discussed, particularly from the standpoint of the "outsider'V'outlaw", policies of exclusion, and Foucault's definition of the "carceral city", which places ex-inmates back into community for rehabilitation and reintegration. The narrative approach to mediation was also defined and its possible application to the issue of reintegration discussed. Further, past research on N I M B Y i s m and parolee reintegration was reviewed; most research in these areas is quantitative rather than qualitative, and no studies were found that included parolee narratives of their actual experiences of reintegration.  22  CHAPTER TWO - M E T H O D O L O G Y Introduction This chapter describes the research question, research design, data collection method, sampling procedures used, ethical issues raised and validity issues. In addition, data analysis is discussed, along with design limitations and planned dissemination of findings. The study has been designed as a qualitative research project which uses the narrative approach to analyze results. Research Question The research question in this case study is: What are parolees' experiences of reintegration into this community upon their release from prison? There are a number of related issue questions that follow from this central query and which move from concrete questions about specific services to more abstract questions about experiences within the community (Appendix A). The themes for these questions were: •  What formal services were available to assist you in reintegration?  •  What family support was available upon release?  •  What help/hindrance did you experience in the community upon release?  Research Design The collective case study approach has been chosen for this study in order to interview three federal parolees about the processes of reintegration into community. This approach involves focusing on an issue, in this case parolee experience of reintegration, rather than a single case history of one parolee. It provides more generalizable data on the  23  issue than a single interview while remaining within a bounded system (Denzen & Lincoln, 1994). Stake (1995) also describes the instrumental case study within the collective case study approach as one in which the goal of the study is to understand more than one particular interviewee's experience, but to be able to extrapolate and analyze data to provide broader generalizations about an issue. Although the sample is small, the case study format calls for in-depth interviews and information collection, which can provide complex responses to contentious issues. In this case study, the issues involve not only individual experiences of parolee reintegration but also broader questions of "citizenship", community membership, "insider'V'outsider", NIMBYism and community mediation. The purpose of this research is to provide additional information from the people most affected by community rejection/disenfranchisement: the parolees themselves, and to give them a voice in the controversial debate around the issue of halfway housing, rehabilitation and reintegration into community. Parolee experience of reintegration has not been included in the information compiled by various community groups in the community under study. Neither proponents nor opponents have consulted parolees. The voices of excluded community members will be important additions to the community mediation process, which has so far relied on a mainstream mediation model for resolution, but which may be better served by the use of narrative theory in the community mediation process. Gillham (2000) describes qualitative research within the case study as an opportunity to view the case from the inside-out, that is, to see it from the perspective of those involved. Furthermore, the research question, as formulated, deals with the issues  24  that the researcher brings from the outside (etic issues), but it will evolve in an emerging design into emic issues, that is, the issues that the interviewees bring to the study (Stake, 1995). It is particularly important to be sensitive to the participants' issues in this case study, as the purpose of the research is to gather information from their perspective. For this reason, the research question is broad-based to allow for a wide spectrum of responses from the participants. Data Collection Method This study employs a semi-structured interview format as the principal data collection method. Questions were adapted within the interview process to develop a starting point for wide-ranging discussion. The interviews were semi-structured, using open-ended questions to elicit discussion (Creswell, 1996). Gillham (2000) describes the semi-structured interview as the most useful for case study research, and he identifies two essential components for successful interviews: firstly, that the researcher has clearly identified the key issues in the investigation, and secondly, that the researcher has identified the questions that can best be answered in a face-to-face interview. Y i n (1994) discusses the open-ended nature of case interviews in which participants are asked not only for the facts surrounding the issue being researched, but also for their opinions about events or occurrences. These suppositions or opinions can then become the basis for further research. As this is an exploratory study, both the concrete facts and the more abstract opinions provide equally valuable data from this population. Sampling In this city of 85,000 people in the Interior of B C , there are approximately fifteen federal parolees in the community itself and another twenty five in outlying communities,  25  for a total of forty within the district (L. Kelsey, Senior Parole Officer, personal communication, November 1, 2001). Currently, all the parolees within this district are men; women are released into Vancouver or Lower Mainland communities where there are facilities to assist them, for example, halfway houses. Parole relates to federal offences, where the offender has been sentenced to two years or more in prison (Rodrigues, 1997). Probation is granted to offenders serving provincial sentences, up to two years less a day. Federal parole terms range from six months to life; the parolees' terms in this study range from thirteen months to life. The participants were selected through non-probability sampling methods, which included purposeful sampling with a criterion-based selection strategy of the group of federal parolees currently living in the community. Although the sample was small, I was interested in interviewing a range of parolees in terms of their age, length of parole, and previous community residency. The three interviewees ranged in age from twenty-three to fifty-nine, their length of parole from eighteen months to life, they ranged from first offenders to frequent offenders, and they varied from non-residents until their release on parole to life-time residents of this community. In this way, a variety of experiences was gathered around the reintegration process. The participants were selected with the assistance of the Correctional Service of Canada at the local Parole Office. Agency consent was obtained before parolees were contacted (Appendix B). Introductory letters were forwarded to possible participants in the district by the CSC (Appendix C), and the parolees were invited to contact the researcher at a message phone number to set up an interview time. Five parolees contacted the researcher for further information, and of these, three agreed to be  26  interviewed for the study. Each interview lasted between one and a half and two hours, and the interview location was an office in a local post-secondary educational institution. The CSC did not know the names of the parolees taking part in the study, and confidentiality has been maintained throughout the process. No identifying information is provided in the study, and the CSC will have no access to the raw data, which has been transcribed from audio-tapes by the researcher. The CSC may, however, have access to the findings of the study upon its completion. Ethical Issues Ethical issues are implicit throughout the research project and need to be addressed at each stage of the design to ensure that the researcher has reflected fully on any possible consequences to the participants (Kvale, 1996). The process of reintegration into society from parolees' perspectives has not been addressed adequately to date, and the information they provide may be useful in a number of areas: firstly, to identify services that assist parolees to reintegrate and, at the same time, to identify gaps in service; to provide a new perspective on community membership and ostracization; to add another perspective to the community mediation process on the halfway house; and, finally to provide insight into factors that may influence recidivism rates among parolees. However, the parolee population may be vulnerable to repercussions and retaliation if identified, both by the CSC and by the community at large. For this reason, the specific community in the study has not been identified. In addition, parolee identities have remained confidential at all stages of the research, from the gathering of raw data to the dissemination of findings. Further, informed consent was obtained from all participants before proceeding with the interviews, (Appendix D) and also from the CSC  27  for their assistance in the recruitment of participants. The interviews were audio-taped with the permission of the participants and later transcribed by the researcher. A l l transcripts and audio-tapes are kept in a locked filing cabinet, and all data that has any identifying information has been removed before storage. Similarly, computer files containing data are protected by passwords. The data will be kept for five years and then destroyed. The methodology for this study was reviewed by the U B C Ethics Committee and approved on December 13, 2001. A copy of the Ethics Approval Form is provided in Appendix E. In addition, the participants chose to take part in the study and were informed that they could withdraw from the study or refuse to participate at anytime, without jeopardizing their access to services. Although no discomfort or incapacity appeared to occur as a result of the interviews, participants were offered the opportunity to take part in a debriefing session with the researcher if they experienced emotional or psychological discomfort from the process. To date, no participant has contacted the researcher for such assistance. Validity The concept of validity is particularly important in qualitative research because it rarely involves formal comparisons, sampling strategies or control groups developed in advance of research (Maxwell, 1996). Instead, concerns about validity are generally addressed after the research is underway. Stake (1995) identifies several strategies to address validity concerns, including triangulation and member checking. Further, Gillham (2000) includes absorbing the culture and looking for discrepant data as tools to enhance validity. Maxwell (1996) is concerned with descriptions, interpretation and  28  theoretical issues. The validity concerns, therefore, range from issues derived from the reliability of the researcher (accurate description, transcription of materials, member checking) to reliability of the evidence presented by the interviewees (triangulation, discrepancies in data). These potential concerns have been addressed in the following ways in this study: •  Awareness of parole/inmate culture in accessing services in the community. I have been involved in researching and editing (with P. J. Murphy and L. Johnsen) two books on inmates' experiences: Sentences and Paroles: A Prison Reader (1999), and Paroled for Life: Interviews with Parolees Serving Life Sentences (in press). This provided information about inmates' experiences of prison life and life on parole in the community (not the community under study).  •  Accurate transcription. I returned the transcribed data to each participant to check that I had transcribed their information accurately. None of the participants responded with corrections.  •  Reliability of evidence. I interviewed a parole officer in the local parole office about the services available in the community for parolees; in essence, triangulating the information provided by the participant interviews, in order to obtain an accurate and thorough understanding of services.  Data Analysis The raw data was transcribed in its entirety by the researcher before beginning an analysis. Maxwell (1996) describes three types of data analysis in qualitative research: memos, categorizing strategies and contextualizing strategies. Although memos are useful at every stage of the research process to focus thought processes and stimulate  29  analytic insights, I relied mainly on a contextual strategy, narrative analysis, for data analysis. Narrative analysis considers the data as a whole, placing it in a context that allows the researcher to identify relationships and links in the data (Maxwell, 1996). After analyzing each interview within its specific context, I then categorized the responses from each interview to provide a more complete overview of the experiences of this group of parolees in reintegrating into the community under study. Mishler (1986) argues that interviews can be interpreted in a narrative format by analyzing the time frame, social dimension and meaning/plot of the narrative. It is particularly important to interpret this data through the lens of narrative analysis as the aim of the research is to give voice to a silenced minority within the community who have hitherto been ignored in the attempt to address the issues of reintegration and halfway housing. Clearly, however, narratives are far more complex than a simple arrangement of facts; in essence, they involve selective description compete with omissions, rearrangement of chronology and other elements, and often simplification (Hinchman & Hinchman, 1997). They involve a kind of mediation between word and world that attempts, however successfully or unsuccessfully, to create order and meaning, and in doing so to offer insights about people's experiences of the world woven into individual narratives. Narrative analysis provides two levels of analysis: firstly, the content of the narrative, for example, the formal services identified by the parolees as important in their integration. Secondly, however, there is another dimension to this form of analysis, which focuses on how the story was told in terms of language and structure (Reissman, 1993).  30  B y breaking down the narrative into discrete sections dealing with the different stories related by the parolees, each narrative segment can be analyzed in terms of its core message and how its language and selection reflects and builds on this core to relate the parolees' experience. The aim is to develop a narrative of "oppositional stories" which recount the experiences of non-elite people against the mainstream discourses of crime: fear, "other", community rejection (Hinchman & Hinchman, 1997). Design Limitations This study is exploratory in design and composed of a small sample size. Its major limitation is that it may prove difficult to determine typical cases from such a small sample and, concomitantly, that interpretations and analysis are not generalizable to the larger parolee population or the community in general. The aim of the research, however, is to give voice to those excluded from community membership, and the recognition of those previously silenced narratives is significant in itself to add to a more complete understanding of the complex issues surrounding community membership and identity. In addition, the study is not designed to be an examination of the issues that lead to recidivism, nor does it attempt to research factors that lead to recidivism within this community. Dissemination of Findings The data has been used for a thesis; a further paper may be written for publication after the completion of the thesis, based on the data collected for this study. In addition, participants have been offered a summary of the contents of their interview. The CSC will also have access to the findings of the research at the end of the project, along with  31  the local John Howard Society. In addition, both U B C and U C C libraries will have copies of the completed thesis, which may be accessed by library cardholders. Conclusion This chapter described how the research study will use the case study approach to interview three parolees in the community about their experiences of reintegration. The data will be analyzed by using the narrative approach which will focus firstly on a contextual analysis of each interview and then on a categorical analysis of the set of interviews to provide some generalizability of data. In addition, issues of validity, design limitation and ethics were addressed.  32  C H A P T E R THREE - FINDINGS: THREE N A R R A T I V E S Introduction This chapter presents the narratives of the three parolees interviewed. Bill, Jim and Colin (pseudonyms) range in age from fifty-nine to twenty-three, from lifer to firstoffender. Their parole terms range from life to thirteen months. In addition, one parolee was raised in the community under study and returned to serve his parole term there, another has lived in the north and Interior of British Columbia for thirty years, and the third is a newcomer, who was sent to the community by CSC officials as "neutral" territory to serve out his parole term as he was considered a danger to his victim in his home community. The background to the issue of reintegration in the community under study is addressed, and then the individual narratives are explored. Background The issue of community resistance to perceived "outsiders" has gained momentum since the 1980's with the advent of deinstitutionalization as government policy. In this community, a city of 85,000 inhabitants in the Interior region of B C , community conflict has surfaced in the resistance to the placement of a halfway house for federal parolees in a working class area. The proposal, put forward by the local John Howard Society and supported by the CSC, was ultimately defeated by a grassroots action committee formed by the residents of the street on which the halfway house was to be located. However, membership in the opposition group spread to include community members from across the city. Community mediation was offered by the city to the residents of the community, without success.  33  Municipal politicians, who originally supported the proposal, quickly changed their minds and withdrew their support, and the Fall 1999 election, in which a new mayor and council were elected, has not changed municipal attitudes towards the issue. While the halfway house proposal has been shelved temporarily, there has been further community resistance between January and June 2002, firstly to a psychiatric facility and then to a social housing project, both proposed for the same working class community. The grassroots action committee has stated that it will defeat any similar proposals made in the future. The current impasse has led to dichotomous labeling of the different factions within the community, for example, north shore/south shore, working class/middle class, and "insiders'V'outsiders". In addition, community resistance has raised important issues for all social service agencies in the city, including increasing polarization within the community, NIMBYism and the exclusion of "others" from community membership.  Bill's Narrative Bill took part in one, semi-structured interview, which lasted approximately two hours. He was comfortable in the office setting used for the interview, and he had clearly told his story on a number of occasions. He looked older than fifty-nine, and was apparently in poor health because he had a persistent cough, which left him wheezing throughout the interview. He was interested in talking about his life in prison and on the outside, and the interview started with some general questions about where he was living, and how long he had lived in the community. He needed little prompting to speak, and he answered all the questions without hesitation, although sometimes in an elliptical way.  34  In the course of the interview, Bill talked about his life on the outside before the crime, including his childhood, the crime itself from his point of view, prison life, rehabilitation and the justice system, and his current life on the outside. While he had clearly told his story many times before, he organized it according to his own internal logic, rather than directly in chronological order. The analysis, therefore, focuses on Bill's narrative of reintegration into community, but it also raises a number of issues about how his particular story was told and why. Summary of Narrative Bill is almost sixty years old, in poor health, and on parole for life in a community in the Interior of British Columbia. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1981 and was sentenced to a ten-year minimum sentence in a federal prison. He was incarcerated in a variety of federal penitentiaries in British Columbia, ranging from maximum security (Kent) through medium security (Matsqui and Mission) to minimum security (William Head). He was released on parole to a halfway house (the Dick BellIrving Halfway House in Vancouver) in 1991, and he is currently on full parole; that is, he lives in the community and reports to a parole officer on a regular basis, usually once a month. He has been "breached" by his parole officer on alcohol-related charges twice in this community and was returned to prison to serve two, seven-day sentences in 1996 and 1998. Bill was born in the Maritimes in 1942 and described his parents as "pillars of the community". There is a family history of alcoholism, however, and Bill described his life as a continual struggle with alcoholism from the age of eleven, when he had his first drink. He also believes that the judge who sentenced him to life in prison, in effect, saved  35  his life. A l l his drinking companions from the period of time before his imprisonment have died of alcohol-related diseases. Even though his health is precarious, he continues to struggle with occasional lapses, which have resulted in being returned to prison for short periods of time. He is required by the conditions of his parole to abstain from alcohol consumption, and he has to submit to regular urinalysis tests. He left home at sixteen and traveled across the country, living and working in a number of communities in the Interior and north of British Columbia. He was living in a northern community when he committed murder. He killed an acquaintance in a bar while he was in a drunken rage. He insists that the murder victim was a child molester and that the community supported his actions. He was originally charged with firstdegree murder and was found guilty of second-degree when the jury accepted that it was an unpremeditated act. He believes that manslaughter would have been a more accurate charge, as he insists that the killing was unintentional. In prison, Bill educated himself, served on Inmate Committees, was involved in setting up programs with the outside community and researched various aspects of life sentences, which he presented to Correctional Service of Canada officials in Ottawa. He was released on day parole to a halfway house in Vancouver in 1991, and when he was released on full parole in 1993, he returned to this community in the Interior where he has a network of support, although no relatives. He lives as a boarder in the home of a friend's partner. Jane is a single mother in 1  her mid-thirties who has a ten-year old daughter with special needs. Bill has fitted into the role of an elderly "uncle" to this little girl, and he appears to have a close relationship with her and Jane, which includes babysitting on occasion for Jane and getting up early in 1  Jane is not her real name. All the names of friends, relatives and acquaintances have been changed.  36  the morning with Emily to prepare her breakfast. He has lived in several similar settings since his release on parole, and he seems comfortable in a family setting where he can be an integral part of a busy household. He considers himself part of the community and neighborhood where he lives, and he sees his role as a guardian of the children. He is always on the look-out for adults who could harm children, and he is suspicious of any unknown adults he sees at the nearby elementary school. Bill's concerns for himself focus on his health issues; he has diabetes, emphysema and glaucoma. He recently had surgery to remove ulcerated toes from both feet, and he has been unable to work since 1996 because of these health problems. He is also in the process of applying for a pension, and he is thinking about what kind of assistance he will need to live independently as he ages. He has an immense need to keep busy, however, and he assists a friend who has a business hauling scrap, volunteers at the Salvation Army Mission and spends a great deal of time with Emily. Reintegration Experiences Formal Services After serving seven years of a ten-year minimum sentence, Bill was allowed out of prison on unescorted passes in 1987, for a total of seventy-two hours a month. This continued until 1993, when he was granted parole and released to a halfway house in Vancouver. The halfway house became his support system: I had a few friends in Vancouver, but the most support I got was from the halfway house. Well, i f I hadn't been at the halfway house but had been on the street, I would have been straight back in jail. At the halfway house, Bill was encouraged to find work and readjust to life on the outside; however, he also described how the inmates were closely monitored:  37  There are safeguards built into the system at the halfway house; i f you screw up, they see it. If the guy at the house thinks you've been drinking, he'll tell your parole officer. He writes a report that you never get to see, but the parole officer sees it, and he'll order a urinalysis to see where you're at with it. Mind you, i f you get caught cold turkey like I've been a couple of times, you don't really need the urinalysis. After Bill was granted parole, he moved back into this Interior community, which does not have a halfway house: It's a disadvantage to everybody that there's no halfway house in this community. This community needs a halfway house; they're releasing people into this community, straight out, after doing ten, twelve, fifteen years in prison, with no community support, no lifelines, nothing. Their only option is to commit another crime; there's no supervision other than the parole officer, and they can't watch them twenty-four hours a day. But they can in a halfway house; they can be monitored very closely. Throughout the interview, Bill was careful to distance himself from the need for formal services. Although he described his parole officer as supportive and concerned about his welfare, particularly his health, he saw her interventions as interference by the justice system rather than legitimate attempts to control and monitor his behavior in the community: "[If] your parole officer thinks you need to be incarcerated, she'll incarcerate you". In speaking generally, however, Bill stated that parolees and ex-inmates end up back in prison when there are no formal support systems in place: Well, they've got nobody to turn to i f they've got a problem. Nobody to watch over them because 95% of all convicts have one kind of abuse or another, substance abuses of some kind, and there's nobody to monitor them. If there was somebody there to pick up on it quick enough, it can be nipped in the bud and maybe maintained at street level. In other words, Bill appears to be saying that the system needs to provide the controls that the parolees or ex-inmates are unable to provide themselves.  38  Family Support Bill appears to have spent much of his life successfully creating "family" connections, usually with friends rather than relatives. Bill described his father as "the intruder" who returned home after the Second World War as a stranger; Bill had by that point substituted his maternal grandfather, a violent alcoholic, for his father. After leaving home at sixteen, he married four times and has two sons and a daughter, and two grandchildren. His children remain in contact with him, although he describes his relationship with them as, "not like a father ... they don't know me well enough". In contrast to this fractured family of origin relationship, Bill managed to integrate into the prison community by developing a kind of family within institutions, "I was well-liked by a lot of people, and I used to do up guys' day parole forms for them, and I had about an 85% success rate." In addition, his ability to reintegrate into the community has depended upon the support and caregiving of a number of friends who continue to assist him: Jane has two children, but only Emily lives with her. The place I lived in with Tom and Dawn, they have two children, a boy and a girl. The place I lived before that, with Theresa, she's like my own sister. Bill's restlessness, however, leads him to move from family to family every few years. He presents himself in an elderly uncle/grandfather role to the children in the family, but he does not see himself as living anywhere permanently: he appears to be a marginal "insider" who moves on when he decides to. His ability to adapt to different family settings, however superficially, and even create them in a hostile environment like a prison, appears to be an important factor in his ability to reintegrate into community.  39  Community Attitudes Bill is clearly concerned about his safety and privacy in the community, and he chooses very carefully whom to reveal his prison experience and parolee status to, especially in his own neighborhood: I just say " H i " in passing. I don't figure there's any need for them to know; I'm not in their home. If I'm in somebody's home and I'm getting close to them, I let them know. I let them make the decision whether or not they want me in their house. He believes, however, that he is accepted in the wider community, even though he sees no need to discuss the issue with his neighbors, and he lives one block away from an elementary school. He appears to see himself as an anomaly in that his crime was supported in the wider community, and he believes that no penalty is too severe for sex offenders. Further, he fully supports the need for a halfway house in the community, partly so that ex-inmates (other than himself, presumably) could be identifiable in the community: I'd sooner have somebody in a halfway house. Now, i f I see him coming out of there, sure I know he's a convict being released to a halfway house, but he's there, he's not living next door to me and I don't know about him. On occasion, however, he has revealed his status to strangers or acquaintances, but only when he feels safe in doing so. He described an incident at a mall, where he spends a lot of time and strikes up conversations with other apparently retired people, in which he revealed his situation to a woman after she commented that all criminals should be kept in jail forever. When Bill replied that he had been in jail himself, she responded by saying that it could not have been for anything "serious". Bill responded:  40  Well, it was serious enough to do a life sentence ... and she said, "I don't even want to ask what you done", and I said, "Don't be scared to ask me" ... I said I was in for murder and it's the least repeated crime. Bill went on to describe how the woman qualified her statement about keeping criminals in jail forever, " . . . and she's looking at me and said, 'Well, maybe everybody shouldn't be kept in'", which exemplifies Bill's view of himself as art anomaly, a "mold-breaker" who should be recognized as different from other convicted criminals. He sees himself as separate from other inmates both because of the nature of his crime (a "justifiable" response to his victim's actions) and also own personality and character (the joker and raconteur). Other Issues Alcoholism runs through the core narrative of this interview, from life on the outside before the crime, to the crime itself and the prison experience, to life on parole. Before the crime, Bill was usually employed as a driver, either with Canadian National Railways as a freight hauler or as a trucker. He could always find work, but he was also often on the move from one community to another. Alcohol was a major driving force in his life: M y big thing was living off my wits, you know, but it was always drinking, drinking. I drank for ten years, 365 days of the year; the only time I didn't drink was when I was too sick to put any in me. It wasn't that I couldn't get any, I was too sick to put it in me. Bill also describes his crime as alcohol-related, although he is careful not to take the blame for what happened: But it wasn't the alcohol that caused the crime; the man's actions was what caused the crime. I've always loved kids, and I took a great offence at what he was doing. It started out with a drunken conversation that snowballed into a very deadly situation. Well, when a man loses his life, you can't get much more deadlier than that.  41  In prison, Bill first went through detox and then spent several years without drinking at all. However, he has had continuing problems with drinking, even though it is a condition of his parole that he not consume alcohol. His medical condition should preclude any alcohol consumption, but he still has the occasional lapse, which has sent him back to jail for short periods of time. Another important issue that runs through the interviews involves Bill's attitude towards the crime. He believes that he has the support of the community, along with his family and friends, because he killed a "deserving" victim. The nature of the crime, the murder of an alleged child molester, has allowed Bill to portray himself as a protector of communities and children, and influences his willingness to disclose his crime to others, while distancing himself from other ex-inmates. After disclosing his crime to the woman in the mall, he continues: I'll agree with you in one of those, there's lots of them that should be kept in, and lots of them should never see the light of day because you know they're going to re-offend ... Further, Bill clearly believes that the status of the victim has influenced community attitudes towards him and allows community members to differentiate between him and other violent criminals: I still have tremendous support with everybody that's ever known me ... it doesn't matter to them ... and they don't care about the charges, they sweep that one right under the table. Jim's Narrative Jim took part in a semi-structured interview lasting approximately two hours. He readily agreed to tell his story to the interviewer, but he chose his words carefully before speaking. He is thirty-five years old, but appears younger. He is tall, physically imposing  42  and looks more like a student than an ex-inmate. The discussion ranged from his experiences in various federal penitentiaries, his experiences in the community under study, his family life and his career aspirations. His answers varied considerably in length. He had very little to say about his family of origin, but a great deal to say about the program he was taking at the local post-secondary institution. Throughout the interview, he appeared to have little to say about relationships with either family or friends. It is not clear whether they simply did not exist on the outside because of the long periods of time Jim has spent in prison, or because he chose not to discuss that area of his life. His chronicle of his life on the outside is, however, full of descriptions of formal programs and courses rather than informal connections with others. Summary of Narrative Jim is originally from Alberta, but he lived for a number of years in Saskatchewan, where his latest conviction took place. At thirty-five years of age, he has spent fourteen years, in effect, most of his adult life, in the federal penitentiary system on a variety of charges, usually armed robbery. Since 1985, the longest period of time that Jim has spent on the outside is two and a half years. It was in this two and a half year period that Jim became involved in a relationship that led to his latest incarceration. His most recent charge was threatening to kill his former girlfriend and her new partner, and he received a twenty-eight month sentence for that offence. He was released on parole five months before the interview took place, and his parole expires in September 2002 (a total of thirteen months parole). Jim has been incarcerated in a variety of federal penitentiaries in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and he served his most recent sentence in  43  Dramheller Institution in Alberta. He was released into this Interior city, a community he had never visited before release, because CSC officials in Alberta refused to allow him to return to Saskatchewan, where his former girlfriend still lives, because of fears for her safety. He noted that he had been "coerced" into coming to this community where he has no family or friends. Jim was released from prison with "no real job skills" or experience and a limited education. He worked briefly for a moving company in the city, where his employer knew about his criminal record, but he wanted to find a more challenging job. He decided that he was interested in a chefs training course, and he enrolled at the local postsecondary institution in the M E C C A Program (Men's Educational and Career Alternatives) to gain the skills he needed to successfully complete the chefs program. He has been accepted into the chefs training program, which starts in September 2002, and he is planning to spend the summer upgrading his computer skills. Jim meets with his parole officer on a weekly basis to ensure that he is complying with the prohibition on consuming alcohol and drugs, and he admits to a previous substance abuse problem without providing much detail. Similarly, he describes his family as supportive, but admits that his parents are not planning to visit him in this community and that he has no contact with his three older brothers. He was married very briefly when he was twenty, but the three-month marriage did not survive a federal prison term. He does not have any children. He has not had a relationship since the one that ended with his imprisonment. Jim seems to have adapted to life on the outside by providing himself with a routine that resembles prison life; he gets up early every morning, gets ready for school,  44  spends all day on campus, returns to his basement suite in the evening to complete homework, and then goes to bed early. This unvarying routine includes weekends, when he spends most of the day in the computer labs on campus. He has not made friends, but he does know a number of other students, and that seems to satisfy him for now. The order and control inherent in his schedule allow him to be comfortable with his life for the present. Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Jim has used a wide variety of formal services to access resources and assistance. However, he emphasized throughout the interview that he had made connections by himself: "I was unaware of resources in the community at that time." He was released with enough money saved to stay at a cheap motel, and after a month he applied for Income Assistance. At that point, he moved to a social housing project run by the local John Howard Society, but is now living in a small basement suite by himself. He described the social housing project: Oh, it seemed like it was too structured: it felt like I was back inside a penitentiary. The way it's set up, plus the clientele that they have there, it really seems like a penitentiary environment. In addition, he was uncomfortable with the other tenants, some of whom have mental health problems, and he clearly did not want to be associated or identified with them: There are some people who are simply disadvantaged, you know, and there's some that are medically disabled, you know, mentally disabled..." Jim stated that he has a fifteen-minute interview with his parole officer every week, so that she can monitor his progress. Apart from that brief contact, he has no interaction with his parole officer:  45  Well, basically I'm satisfying their requirements, and I'm even going beyond. I'm at the college here, I'm taking courses and I'm going to be taking the cooking course in September. They're happy; I'm not going out in the community robbing places, or into crime. When he applied for Income Assistance, he was sent to an employment counseling agency for an employability assessment. The employment counselor referred him to the M E C C A Program and assisted him to get H R D C funding to pursue the chefs training course after completing M E C C A . Jim describes M E C C A : It has to deal with your frustrations, your anger, your emotional issues. It's basically to deal with stuff from the head before you really start getting into your career or what you want to do. He credits the M E C C A Program and its instructors for his success in attaining his goals as a student, but he always comes back to his own "strong will" as the reason for his ability to adapt to life on the outside. Jim was released in 1986 to a halfway house in Regina after serving a sentence for armed robbery in a maximum-security prison. He describes it as being a useful experience, even though it was situated on "skid row": It was comforting, it was good for when people get out of jail. They help you find a job, they gave you support money, you had a bed to sleep in and stuff like that; you didn't really have to worry about where am I going to go, you know. He described the debate within this community about the halfway house as evidence of "discrimination" against ex-inmates and added: It would involve less stress on everyone's part. I can't see why the community is so outraged at putting a halfway house [here]. A city needs a halfway house for people. Ultimately, however, he sees the halfway house as another safety and control mechanism for the CSC:  46  It's better to have people like that under supervision and to monitor them than just to let them out. Family Support Jim appears to have very little family support, perhaps because of his long periods of imprisonment. He stated that he keeps in touch with his parents who live in Saskatchewan, but they have no plans to visit him in British Columbia. He is the youngest of four brothers, but he has no contact with any of his siblings; "they have their life, I have mine." The most important family connection that he discussed was an uncle, his father's brother, who fascinated him as a child: Well, he would run away, he'd get into trouble, come over to our place, and I would look up to him like a role model, but a role model in the wrong way. Jim's uncle was an armed robber who served several sentences in federal penitentiaries as a young man, but who has since "mellowed out and gone straight". Jim's uncle is the only other member of his family who has been in prison. Jim's brief marriage took place in 1987 when he was released on mandatory supervision, but it ended after a few months, when he was sent back to prison. The longest relationship he has had with a partner was two years, and it was his response to the breakdown of that relationship that led to his most recent imprisonment. While he described the charges that led to his incarceration, he seems to feel little responsibility for what happened: She was running around on me and didn't tell me; I asked her and she lied in my face. He stated that he has little time now to pursue relationships, as he is concentrating on his studies, but that he has met a number of people on campus, although they appear to be acquaintances rather than friends:  47  Oh yeah, I interact with people; I use the library services, the gym, the cafeteria. On weekends, I go on the computers at the college, and I study a lot. Community Attitudes While Jim has revealed his status as a parolee to a number of people in the community, for example, his employer at the moving company and the instructors in the M E C C A Program, he has chosen not to discuss his past with other students in the program. His interactions with other students do not appear to have led to friendships, but would be better described as casual acquaintance relationships. Jim explains this as a result of limited time to socialize with other students: I haven't [made friends] other than the people that I know at the college here, no I haven't really, I really haven't had time. I've got three hours every night of homework to do. In addition, Jim experienced difficulty finding work in the restaurant field when he was first released from prison because of his criminal record. When he was looking for work through an employment agency, he had to reveal his status as a parolee to potential employers: ... and as for restaurants, I've had this one place shut the door in my face, saying, well, we can't market this guy. These experiences convinced him that it would be easier to find work if he could gain a skilled trade. Jim seems to find the anonymity of student life appealing. He is particularly concerned about not being identifiable as an ex-inmate; for example, he stated that he is happy that he resisted getting tattoos in prison, which are instantly associated with prisoners on the outside. He clearly believes that he can "pass" as a student, and he has no intention of revealing his status as a parolee to other students. In addition, he does not  48  seem concerned that his age and lack of education and employment history might inadvertently reveal his past to others. The M E C C A Program itself gives students the opportunity to develop self-awareness and the tools for successful reentry into employment training, and while Jim is clearly very enthusiastic about the program, he has still guarded his anonymity very carefully. Other Issues Jim has worked hard to construct an identity for himself as a student. He has recreated himself as the "ideal student": committed, industrious, disciplined. The core narrative that runs through this interview is Jim's reconstruction of identity. While he is clearly isolated in terms of his social interaction with students or other community members, he does not describe himself as lonely; rather he appears to see himself as part of the student community. He attributes his success at constructing a student identity to his "strong w i l l " and his ability to overcome "discrimination" and adversity. However, Jim's student life consists of an inflexible routine that resembles, in many ways, prison life: M y routine is I'm up at 5:30 in the morning, put a pot of coffee on, turn on the heat, warm up a bit, have a shower, get ready for school, maybe review my work, prepare what I'm going to take to class, get dressed. By that time, it's 7 o'clock; I'm out the door catching the bus, downtown transferring and up here at 8 o'clock or 8:30. Jim spends all day in school and returns home at about 5 p.m., then he has dinner and does several hours homework a night: I got homework every night, so I do discoveries and intentions on myself, and then I get weekend papers, which I have to do. Jim describes the M E C C A Program as the most important course he has ever taken in his life:  49  I'm learning more from this M E C C A Program that what I've learned in years, in the 10 to 15 years what I've been in Drumheller, which they forced me to learn. This course comes from the heart, like they talk about the discovery wheel. Here, it's learning about your own issues, like what has got me into trouble, or what are your strengths, your weaknesses, being aware of yourself, your emotions, respect for yourself and others. They talk about concepts and reality, body language, your values, what do I value: education, relationships, family values... His involvement with the program consumes his life, and he is planning to be just as committed to education when the program finishes in April 2002; he is enrolled in summer school courses and then the chefs training course in September. Jim's routine does not allow any time for a social life or interests outside the program. He describes himself as self-reliant and in control of his life, but he does admit to underlying issues of anger: As for personal issues, well I really have a lot of anger and resentment towards Corrections Canada. I have a lot of resentment towards things that have happened to me within the system. He stated that the CSC officials lied about a number of incidents that happened in Drumheller; he appears to see lying as a personal affront to him. His rationalization for the last crime he committed was that his girlfriend had lied to him when he asked her i f she was involved with someone else. Further, Jim does admit to a previous substance abuse problem, although he stresses that it is in the past: I did have my Class I license before, I was driving truck, but then I lost my license for drinking and driving; it was just the little things ... In prison, he described the availability of drugs for inmates: They come in with an addiction, or whenever they get an addiction, and they leave, come back, it's really nothing; it's like living in a motel.  50  Jim is prohibited from alcohol or drug use while on parole, and he has to provide regular urinalysis tests to prove that he is not violating his parole. He has passed every test so far. Colin's Narrative Colin took part in a semi-structured interview lasting approximately one and a half hours. He appeared relaxed and comfortable throughout the interview, and he was forthcoming about his crime and its effects on his family and friends. He is twenty-three years old and looks like a typical student. He talked a great deal about his family and their support for him, as well as his life before the crime, prison life, and his plans for the future. He describes his prison experiences as an "outsider" in the penal system; he was sent to a federal penitentiary as a first offender, and he had no experience of the justice system prior to this incarceration. Summary of Narrative Colin is twenty-three years old, and he was born and brought up in the community under study. He is presently living with his parents and two younger brothers in the house where he was raised. Both sets of grandparents live within a block of his home. He graduated from a local high school and moved to Alberta to work as a waiter in a ski resort. During the winter, he would concentrate on working, skiing and partying. In the summer, when his income was greatly reduced, he would sell drugs to maintain his lifestyle. Throughout this period of time, he maintained contact with his family, but he did not visit them often, partly because they disapproved of his lifestyle. Colin was arrested and charged with drug possession and trafficking in Alberta in the Fall of 2000, and he came home to his parents' house for Christmas that year without telling them. He was facing a trial in January 2001, and he believed that he would be  51  given a conditional sentence, that is, a sentence to be served in the community, rather than a custodial sentence. He then believed that his parents would never have to know about the crime. He obtained a lawyer through Legal Aid, but he was convicted of the crime and sentenced to two years in prison (a federal sentence) and sent to Bowden Penitentiary in Alberta. He was released on day parole after serving six months of his sentence, and remains on parole until his sentence is completed in January 2003. When Colin was sent to Bowden, he called his parents to let them know what had happened. They were, undoubtedly, shocked at the news, but they went to Alberta to visit him immediately, and they continued to support him throughout his incarceration and release on parole. CSC officials in Bowden had determined that Colin was to be sent to a halfway house in Calgary on his release and not to his home community because there is no halfway house there, but Colin's parents lobbied the local parole office to have him released to this community, to a private home placement, so that he could eventually live with them. The family pressure was successful, and Colin was released to a farm outside the city, where he stayed for two months, before moving back to his parents' house. He is currently working as a waiter at a restaurant and studying part-time at the local post-secondary institution. His goal is to move to Vancouver eventually to complete a degree in graphic arts. His parents have supported him in gaining his driver's license, which he had never bothered to apply for previously, and they have encouraged him to continue working and studying while remaining at home. He is planning to go to school full-time in January 2003 and to live in student housing, while still remaining closely connected to his family.  52  Reintegration Experiences Formal Services Colin described a number of formal services that he used in the community. Firstly, he was able to return to the community under study because the local parole office arranged a private home placement for him with an older couple living on a farm outside the city: It went pretty nicely; they were a really nice couple, and they served great dinners for me every night. Although it was a long ways away from town, so it was hard to get back and forth, but I managed to get by, by either hitchhiking or the buses, and I had my mountain bike out there ... Colin assisted the couple with farm work, and he felt it was a positive experience. Colin stayed with the couple for two months and completed day parole, then received permission to move back into his parents' home. He credited the assistance of his parole officer in arranging this for him, and he stated that he has a good relationship with her. He sees her once a week currently, although he was seeing her twice a week when he was first released: She's very positive, a positive influence as far as giving me a little boost and helping me out. We talked about different things like going to school and that, and I have plans to take my graphic arts here in January of next year, and she's been really supportive as far as, like, pep talking to me. She's really good with her words and everything; I think she's a really good parole officer. Colin found work on his own once he moved back into his parents' home: After working at the farm for two months, I took my resumes out just about a week or two before I finished my day parole, and once I had my resumes made up, I found work the first day. He has not disclosed his status as a parolee to his employer or fellow workers, but he has told them that he does not drink alcohol. He appears satisfied with the restaurant work for the present, particularly as he has been able to save about $1,000 since he started there,  53  mainly because he is not spending any money on alcohol or drugs. In addition, he is comfortable in that work environment as he has extensive experience working in restaurants. He was originally told that he would have to go to a halfway house in Calgary after his release, which, he believes, would not have assisted him in his rehabilitation, because he has no support system in Calgary. If his parents had not been successful advocates for his return to his home community, he would have been placed in a halfway house in Calgary, which would have changed his entire outlook on release: I wouldn't have any goals to go to school, I probably would just be working, and I wouldn't have my driver's license on the go, I would have just put that off. Then I would also have to start fresh with meeting people, and to do that you have to go somewhere where people are being social, and a lot of the time that's where people are drinking. He also believes that he would have been unable to keep in close contact with his family if he had been sent to Calgary: As it stands right now, I have a 60-kilometer radius around the city, and I can't just up and go with some friends for the night to Vancouver. So then I would be stuck in Calgary, and I'd have to have a pretty good reason to come to [this community]; I couldn't just come and visit my family. However, Colin is a strong supporter of the need for a halfway house in this community: The halfway house in town would probably help a lot because [this community] is a good place. Some people say it's hard to find a job here, it wasn't hard for me, I found a job really quickly. It's a good-sized city; they have a university for young people. It's not so big, like i f you went to Vancouver, you could easily fall into that whole trap again, you know. He recognizes that he was fortunate to be able to return to his own community on parole, and that other parolees from this community may have been sent to halfway houses in other cities or provinces.  54  Family Support Colin credits his successful reintegration to his family support; his parents, a businessman and a teacher, acted as advocates and lobbyists for him when they heard about his conviction. Although he was estranged from his parents for a period of time before he was convicted, he never lost contact with them completely: I kinda avoided contact with my family and everything, and then I really put my parents through hell whether I was going to jail or not. Then I really got closer to them, writing letters and so on [from prison]... Colin returned home for a visit to his parents at Christmas without telling them about his impending trial, and then phoned them from Bowden in January after he was sentenced: They said, 'Why didn't you tell us before, we would have helped get you a good lawyer. We would have paid for a good lawyer to come up there and work for you.' After Colin contacted them, his parents went to visit him on a number of occasions, even though it was an eleven-hour drive. He also credits his parents for his release into his home community instead of Calgary. He discussed how devastating it was for his parents to learn of his imprisonment: M y mom was crying, you know. I come from a really good house; my family is really a great bunch of people, and I just got tied up with the wrong scene, it took me over. Colin also admitted that it was hard returning to his parents' house after living independently for a number of years: It's hard when you're a young person to just like give leeway to your parents and have your parents kind of running your life. I still want to do my own thing, but I'm living at the house, I'm 23 years old ... and it's like I'm a burden on them. I'm wondering are they really glad to get rid of me or are they glad to have me back?  55  Furthermore, Colin admits to some tension within the family over trust issues; he states that his parents do not trust him as much as he would like, although he understands why. Overall, however, Colin describes his parents as trying to assist him as much as possible in his reintegration into community: M y parents and family, we've done some really nice things together since I've been out, sailing for example, so it's really good. They're positive people that don't assume that I'm a bad person because I went to jail. They know me better than that. In addition to his immediate family, Colin also has the support of his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins along with community support from friends. Community Attitudes While Colin's immediate family and close friends know about his status as a parolee, his employer does not, and he is quite careful about disclosing his status to new acquaintances. He contacted his closest friends in the community when he was imprisoned, and they notified other friends of his situation: M y best friend Cody and my friend Krista as well [were contacted]. They're pretty much the only two I kept in touch with, but through them anyone who was kind of close to me heard quickly what was going on, and then I got letters from different people, friends and so on. On his return to the community, these old friends have been supportive and interested in his experiences in prison. He has explained to them that the conditions of his parole prevent him from drinking and taking drugs, and they have responded by trying to help him stay away from the "party lifestyle" that led to his criminal conviction: I actually tell a lot of people because of what I've done in my life and because I'm on parole, but it's not going to change anybody else's way of thinking really. M y old friends still smoke dope, and I'm on parole and I can't do those things like I used to, so it's good that they know about me because now no-one's going to pressure me into doing something.  56  As for new acquaintances and friends, however, Colin does not disclose his status as a parolee or discuss his imprisonment with them: "They don't need to know anything". In addition, no-one at work knows about his conviction, although he discussed the issue with his parole officer before looking for work: I talked to [my parole officer] about that, and what she said was that it would have been different i f it had been some kind of robbery charge or whatever, but because it was drug-related that it didn't have anything to do with my work career because I was always a good worker. So she said, 'Don't worry about it, don't tell them, it's not important that they know.' Part of Colin's reluctance to disclose his status to new friends may also reflect his middle-class parents' attitudes towards his crime: "They take it as a kind of embarrassment". Furthermore, he stated that, ".. .nobody really needs to know, I'm partially embarrassed about myself, you know". Colin has also not experienced negative comments in the community about criminals and crime, perhaps partly because he appears to be a typical student/employee, but he expressed further embarrassment at how he might react to such comments: I'd imagine that would be pretty hard on me personally thinking that, you know, i f they had no idea that I am serving as a parolee right now, and to hear, "We don't want those people around this town because of whatever," I don't know how I would react to that. Like Bill and Jim, he clearly sees himself as different from the majority of parolees in the community, and he does not identify himself as part of a group of ex-inmates, although he states that when he tells old friends about his imprisonment, they are often not surprised: "I guess more people know someone who's gone to jail than we really think." However, Colin stated that his parents' attitudes towards crime and criminals has changed considerably since his incarceration, and they are now considering volunteering  57  to offer their home as a private home placement once Colin and his brothers have left home: M y parents had said, 'I wonder i f somewhere down the road we could do that home placement,' and I'm sure that they would never have thought of that out of the blue. But they know how the system will do a check on the house, they'll give you papers mentioning who this person is, and they really give you a thorough explanation of [the process]. Other Issues The core narrative that runs through the interview with Colin is his explanation of his actions as untypical. He never expected to become a convicted criminal, and his family and community support relies on explaining his crime as an aberration in an otherwise ordinary life. He describes his crime as a consequence of his lifestyle: In the off-season it gets so slow as far as visitors ... and that's partly the reason why I sold drugs, to compensate for the money I was making on a regular basis in the wintertime. You know, I'm so used to having money and spending money and having friends and being out all the time, and then all of a sudden to have no money, and I sold drugs to try and compensate. He also stated that he spent too much time with the "wrong crowd": "I slipped up, I messed up with the wrong type of people". Now that he is back in his home community, he sees his friends as supportive of his rehabilitation, even if they are involved in the same lifestyle as his friends in the ski resort. Although Colin admits to a previous substance abuse problem: "I was really messed up with alcohol and drugs", he now states that he has no interest in either: I think I've grown out of that now anyhow, just from seeing what it's like that • older people are still in jail over it, and their kids visit them in jail, and I just don't ever want to be that guy. He does not appear to have changed much about his social life except to refuse drugs and alcohol:  58  I'm happy to be sober; I go out occasionally to nightclubs, I really like to dance and socialize, and I just, you know, choose not to drink, and it's not difficult.  In addition, Colin was aware that being an accepted member of the community assisted with his reintegration: "This will always be home, for sure". He also described other inmates as lacking the same support he did, which would lead inevitably to recidivism: It has a lot to do with the fact that they don't have somebody, some people there to help them change, and jail was just like some kind of holiday to get away from the lifestyle that they live on the street, and sure enough they'll go back to needle use or whatever it is or being homeless or whatever until they get arrested again. He feels that his family and community support made the difference in determining whether he would re-offend or not. Conclusion This chapter described some background to the community under study, and the controversy around the reintegration of offenders into the community. The three interviews were then discussed, which included a summary of each narrative and the reintegration experiences described by each parolee. Reintegration experiences were divided into four categories: formal services, family support, community attitudes and other issues.  59  C H A P T E R FOUR - DISCUSSION Introduction This chapter provides an analysis of the three interviews using the narrative approach and a comparison of the reintegration experiences of the three parolees. In addition, the barriers/aids to reintegration are discussed, as well as personal identity and community membership, educational initiatives to promote inclusiveness, and issues that affect marginalized groups. Narrative Analysis Bill's narrative of his reintegration experiences presents a number of messages for both interviewer and reader. Firstly, while he is clearly comfortable in the role of raconteur, he is essentially an unreliable narrator who chooses very carefully how much of himself to reveal to others. This is hardly surprising given his prison experience and status as parolee for life. However, there are a number of contradictions within the interview itself that raise questions about Bill's insight into his situation. For example, close to the end of the interview, he describes himself as almost an accidental criminal, not a "career criminal": A l l my charges have always been alcohol related .. .There is no risk at all [of further crimes], and there is very little risk when I'm drinking too because I've mellowed over the years. Earlier in the narrative, however, Bill explains that it is impossible to predict future criminal behavior: I don't know what I'm going to do until a certain situation arises, and then I just hope we have the wisdom and experience to go with it and handle it properly. Furthermore, Bill describes himself as being an accepted member of a community before the crime, in prison and on the outside again. However, his narrative of his life  60  before the crime appears to depict a drifter who moved across the country in search of work, distancing himself from family, and then continued to move from town to town in the Interior and north of British Columbia. He clearly sees himself as an "insider" rather than an "outsider" in these communities, with his narrative of community acceptance and even approbation of his crime. However, it may be more accurate to describe Bill as a permanent "outsider", who constructs his narrative to create "insider status" but is very careful to reveal only pieces of his story to other community members. In addition, while he is a passionate defender of the halfway house system, partly because it makes parolees visible in the community, he does not believe that he would ever have any future need for a halfway house, and he values his privacy and anonymity highly. His support for a halfway house is interwoven with his definition of himself as different from other criminals: a permanent "outsider" who is an "insider" in the justice system itself. Bill's narrative performance also involves situational analysis in evaluating the response of the audience/listener (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). The interview became a series of linked anecdotes, not chronological in order, about the major events in Bill's life and his philosophy in dealing with the situation. Many of the stories were told in a joke format, complete with punchline (Bill advised at one point in the interview that he would like to be a comedian). Jokes are essentially culturally situated and rely on certain conventions of storytelling to achieve their effect. O f course, they are also assumed to be exaggerated and not entirely factual. For Bill, the joke format appeared to reinforce his image of himself as a "regular guy" who has led an irregular life, and certainly not a threatening or dangerous person.  61  Moreover, throughout the narrative, Bill referred to himself less as an actor/subject of the events in his life, but more as acted upon/object, particularly in regard to the most pivotal event of his life, the murder: It was alcohol-related, but it wasn't the alcohol that caused the crime; the man's actions was what caused the crime. At no time during the interview does Bill discuss the crime in an active voice; it is always described as an event that happened to him, rather than an action that he had any conscious control over. The essential metaphor that runs through the entire narrative, however, deals with Bill's relationship with alcohol. It becomes the motivation and explanation for his restless travels across the country, his fractured family life and failed marriages, the impetus to commit murder, and the struggle to remain on the outside when paroled for life. Alcohol is the pervasive factor that links Bill's childhood, adulthood, crime, prison sentence and life on the outside. The social and cultural contexts of alcoholism allow Bob to explain his life events to an audience composed of "insiders" rather than "outsiders". Coffey and Atkinson (1996) argue that metaphors are grounded in socially shared knowledge, and Bill's depictions of alcoholism, and its dire consequences for him, are both familiar and exculpatory in nature. Finally, Bill's narrative provides a starting point for the exploration of disempowered voices within community. His experiences of community, while necessarily unique to his own situation, raise a number of important issues for all parolees and, in fact, other marginalized groups, in their efforts to become accepted members of a community. Firstly, can reintegration only be effected by concealing the true status and identity of these "outsiders"? It is not clear from the interview with Bill  62  whether he was ever an "insider", even before his crime and imprisonment, but he appears to see himself as an "insider", however marginal that status appears to others in the community. Also, the kinds of formal supports essential to aid integration from the parolees' perspective may be quite different from the Correctional Service of Canada's programs. Bill's narrative underscores the informal/"family" connections that he has found to be the most importance to his acceptance into community. Other parolees, of course, have very different perceptions of formal and informal services. Jim's narrative provides a number of contradictory images for both interviewer and reader. The most striking image is the construction of his own identity as a good community member: both a self-reliant loner and a hardworking student. Initially, when he describes a series of formal services and assistance that he has accessed since being released into this community, he insists that he did all the work himself to find a place to live and register for college. However, when he starts to provide details about these activities, it becomes clear that he relied on a number of agencies within the community for help, including an employment counseling agency, the Ministry of Human Resources, the local John Howard Society and the local post-secondary institution. However, Jim portrays himself as an "outsider'V'outlaw" who relies only on himself and his willpower to succeed. In addition, it is not clear from the interview whether Jim wants to become an "insider" and, in particular, whether he knows how to become one. Like Bill, he appears to be a marginal "insider" at best, and he is concerned mostly with "passing as" an ordinary community member. He appears satisfied for the present with a number of superficial relationships with fellow students who, for the most part, do not know about  63  his past. Since his release, he has not formed any close relationships with women, although he expressed an interest in meeting with other singles at some point. As he appears to have a distant relationship with his family and his current social life is nonexistent, he relies on his interest in his studies to motivate him to stay focused on keeping out of trouble. The most compelling image of the narrative, however, is Jim's description of how he has re-institutionalized himself in the community. His description of his daily routine echoes prison life, with its reliance on an invariable schedule to fill his day with tasks and activities. Even on the weekend, his schedule hardly varies even though there are no classes. This inflexible routine appears to give Jim security in his life on the outside; the longest period of time he has spent out of prison since the age of twenty is, after all, two and a half years. He seems unaware of this process of reintegration through re-institutionalization, and he describes his routine in a matter-of-fact manner. Furthermore, while Jim was interested in the interview process and eager to talk about certain aspects of his life, he remained guarded and secret about other issues, most notably, his relationship with his family and his problems with substance abuse. He appears to be a disengaged narrator, distancing himself from the content of his answers by responding in the second person: [MECCA] has to do with your frustrations, your anger, your emotional issues. [At the halfway house] they help you find a job, they gave you support money... In this way, he seemed fairly detached from the process, as though he were speaking about someone else, not from his own experiences. The only emotion that he expressed throughout the interview was one of anger at perceived injustices committed by CSC  64  officials when he was in prison. He seems to see himself as fully integrated into the community of his choice, the student community, and he is determined to succeed on his terms within that community. Jim's narrative provides another experience of reintegration, which again involves concealment of his real identity as a parolee. The identity that he has constructed for himself contains a number of contradictory elements; he is part of the student body, an "outsider" and an "outlaw" at the same time. Jim has retained control over whom he reveals his status to, but he also appears uninterested in becoming an "insider" in the community under study. Although reluctant to acknowledge assistance, he did also receive considerable help from agencies within the community, but he seems to view his successful reintegration so far as due to his own effort of will. Jim appears to have minimal family support and almost no informal, family-like connections to assist him, but he has succeeded in maintaining a life on the outside by the rigid adherence to a prisonlike schedule that has, in effect, re-institutionalized him. In contrast, the most interesting part of Colin's narrative is his depiction of himself as an ordinary person who made a mistake and is dealing with the consequences of his actions. He clearly does not identify himself as a criminal, ex-inmate or parolee. His identity has been established as a member of his community over the course of his lifetime, and he does not feel that his identity has been changed as a result of his imprisonment. He sees himself as an "insider" in the community, who has returned to his home under challenging circumstances, but who is still regarded as the same person he was before his conviction. He states that his friends and family have not condemned him  65  because "this isn't really like me". He is, essentially, a shamed narrator who provides a testimonial or confessional narrative in his interview. Further, Colin sees his imprisonment as an anomaly in his life, as one incident that happened to him through poor judgment and a bad lifestyle, but one that he can fairly easily put behind him within a couple of years. He does not see himself as a "criminal" or, in fact, at risk to re-offend. He does not appear to see his friends as much different from himself; many are still involved in a party lifestyle that includes drug use and excessive use of alcohol, but they do not have criminal convictions. Colin does not seem to think that it will be difficult for him to change his lifestyle permanently, even when he has completed his parole. He stated that he is not anticipating any problems once his parole is over in returning to alcohol use as a "social drinker". His long-term goals include a degree in graphic arts, but he also stated that he would like to run a restaurant/bar in Toronto or Montreal one day. Whether his goals are realistic or not, he anticipates a return to a "normal" life, once his parole is over. His reticence to discuss his status as a parolee seems to stem from embarrassment at his situation, rather than concerns for safety or anonymity. He is not, after all, anonymous within the community; both his parents are well known in the community, and he has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances who already know his history. He has no intention of revealing his status to new friends, his employer or co-workers, but again that decision seems to be a result of his own embarrassment and that of his family. Colin's narrative was also framed in overwhelmingly positive language, even in discussing life in prison or the lifestyle that led to his imprisonment. He stated that his fellow inmates were, on the whole, "good people" who had "drug problems" that they  66  were unable to control. He described his substance abuse problems as part of a "party lifestyle" that got out of hand. He also seems determined to view his current status as a parolee in a positive light, rather than as a humiliating or degrading intrusion into his life, perhaps because he sees his status as a temporary problem that will disappear permanently in a year and a half. Colin's narrative provides a very different perspective on parolee reintegration into community than Bill or Jim expressed. Colin's interview appears to be less of an "oppositional story" (Hinchman & Hinchman, 1997) than an expression of middle-class identification with the status quo. His depiction of himself as an "insider" who temporarily became an "outsider" due to his own bad choices presents an image of an individual who knows he can fit into everyday life without being stigmatized as an "undesirable' in his own community. He appears to identify completely with his parents' viewpoint of his family as upstanding members of the community, and he explains his conviction and imprisonment as an aberration, a temporary not permanent stigma. Unlike many other parolees, he has been able to reintegrate into his familiar routine: job, family life and friends, without any ties to the criminal community. Reintegration Experiences Formal Services The formal services accessed by the three parolees range from government agencies, for example, the parole office, halfway house, HRDC, the local post-secondary institution, to non-profit agencies, for example, employment counseling, the John Howard Society, social housing. Only Colin expressed a positive attitude towards formal services, including his parole officer, but he did not use many different services, partly  67  because he found work quickly on his own, and he did not require assistance in finding housing. Bill did not express the need for formal services and was critical of the parole office generally, though not his parole officer, and Jim did not acknowledge the assistance of formal services in his reintegration, although he had clearly accessed a variety of different services available within the community. A l l three parolees supported the idea of a halfway house in the community, and Bill and Jim had been released to halfway houses in different communities. They both acknowledged that the halfway house had assisted in their reintegration, and they supported the placement of one in the community under study. In fact, Colin would have been released to a halfway house in Calgary if his parents had not advocated successfully for his return to his home community, and consequently he was particularly supportive of the need for a halfway house in this community. The reasons for their whole-hearted support for a halfway house focused on the need for the identification of parolees in the community, although ironically all three have been very careful to maintain confidentiality and anonymity around their status as parolees. Bill and Jim essentially argue that the halfway house provides a successful monitor for other parolees, so that the community can be aware of their identity and they can be "watched" twenty-four hours a day. Neither Bill nor Jim acknowledges that they may have need of a halfway house in the future; they consider themselves to be successfully reintegrated into the community already. Both Bill and Jim seem unaware of the contradiction inherent in their approval of halfway houses as a tool for the CSC and the community to monitor and, essentially, publicly shame parolees who are living in the community. Their approach provides an  68  interesting counterpoint to the attitudes of the grassroots opposition group in the community, who are adamantly opposed to the placement of a halfway house in the city, but who are well aware that parolees are already "hidden" within the community in private home placements or on their own in apartments or boarding houses, with far fewer controls in place to monitor their behavior. The opposition group clearly does not want the community to provide another level of support for parolees (always assumed to be "outsiders' to the community), and while the three parolees interviewed support the need for a halfway house, they do not want to be publicly identified within the community. Family Support A l l three parolees approached the issue of interconnectedness with others in different ways. For Colin, family support was the mainstay of his rehabilitation and reintegration in his home community. His estrangement from his family was a temporary aberration caused by his lifestyle, but he had no hesitation in contacting his family for support when he was imprisoned. While Colin was grateful to his family for the advocacy and support they provided for him, he also clearly expected that response from them. Similarly, once he had notified his two closest friends of his incarceration, he received support from a number of friends in the community. In contrast, Bill has created a family environment in a number of different households in the community under study. He presents himself as a family member, either an elderly uncle or grandfather, and is apparently accepted in the household as an integral part of the family. He has lived in several different households in the community, all with children, and he has confirmed himself in his role by babysitting the children and  69  becoming a friend and companion to the adults in the household. He does not have a close relationship with his own children or grandchildren, although he remains in contact with them and with his ex-wives. He is clearly most comfortable in a family environment where he can be part of a busy household. However, Jim not only has minimal contact with his family of origin but has not attempted to rebuild a sense of family in the community. He has no close relationships within the community, no confidante, and he does not reveal his status to other students on campus. His brief marriage ended in divorce, and his only other significant relationship ended when he was charged with uttering threats against his partner when she left him. He appears to live an isolated, "closed" existence, with his rigid routine, which leaves him no time for a social life. He stated that he was content with this life for the present, but it is difficult to assess the impact of institutionalization on his future. Community Attitudes The clear message from all three paroles is that they guard their anonymity very carefully and only disclose their status as parolees under certain circumstances. Colin's family and friends, his support network, are all aware of his status, but he has not told his employer, nor does he disclose his status to new friends and acquaintances. Bill has also told friends about his crime, but he has developed rules about when he discloses his status to new friends: usually, i f he is invited into their homes. He has also told strangers, presumably for shock value, when he can maintain his anonymity, but he has not discussed the issue with his neighbors and has no intention of doing so. He clearly does not feel safe in disclosing this information in his neighborhood, particularly with its proximity to an elementary school. Jim is similarly very careful about disclosure; he has  70  told his instructor, but not fellow students in the program. Each parolee therefore makes individual assessments of when it is safe to reveal his identity as a parolee, based on the circumstances. A l l three parolees are, in fact, concerned with "passing as" ordinary community members, although only Colin, with his solid middle-class family background, is really able to be invisible within the community. Both Bill and Jim present more obvious difficulties in blending in, partly because of their chosen living arrangements. In addition, all three parolees distanced themselves for the most part from discussion within the community about crime issues or parole. While Jim mentioned "discrimination" on several occasions, he was referring to general issues rather than personal experience within the community under study. The parolees did not appear comfortable in raising issues about crime generally with "ordinary" members of the community; they prefer to remain hidden within the community as they try to "pass as" community members. Other Issues The most important issue facing all three parolees focuses on identity. A l l three have to some extent hidden or rejected their identity as parolees or "outsiders" in the community under study. They have attempted to reconstruct an identity as community members, with varying success. Although both Bill and Jim appear to believe that they can "pass as" ordinary community members, they are, at best, marginal "insiders" whose identity depends upon a lack of close scrutiny by others. Jim, in particular, appears to have effected his reintegration into community by engaging only in superficial relationships with other students, whether intentionally or not. He has invested a great  71  deal of time and energy into becoming the "perfect student", whose "insider" status is taken for granted at a post-secondary institution, but he has put little effort into developing and sustaining more complex relationships with other community members. Colin has obviously made the easiest adjustment to life on the outside, as he has been accepted back into his family and community, albeit as the prodigal son, without expecting long-term stigma as an ex-inmate to haunt him. Like the others, however, he is careful to hide his parolee identity from new friends and co-workers. Bill and Jim face different circumstances in trying to become accepted members of the community, and it is not clear whether they can hide their identity as parolees for an extended period of time, particularly Bill, as he is on parole for the rest of his life. While Bill appears to have adjusted to life on the outside, he is careful not to reveal much of his past to other community members and neighbors. He has built an identity for himself as a "regular" guy and a raconteur within his reconstructed "family". In the wider community, however, he appears to have greater difficulty in blending in and "passing as" as an ordinary citizen. Overall, Jim presents the most difficulty in his reintegration experiences as he has attempted to construct an identity as a student, but he has imposed a rigid prison regime on his life on the outside, and it is difficult to assess whether he will be able to adapt and change to "fit" more easily into the student community over a longer period of time. Essentially, neither Bill nor Jim appears able to become permanent, accepted "insiders" in the larger community; rather they are marginal "insiders" who have become accepted in limited, perhaps only transitory, circumstances.  72  In addition, all three parolees experienced various forms of substance abuse, which either led directly to their incarceration, as in the case of Colin, or was a precipitating factor in the crime, as Bill described. Jim has also struggled with substance abuse issues, without providing much detail. Only Bill, however, admitted to a continuing problem, although neither Colin nor Jim appears to have been involved in counseling around these issues. Conclusion The three narratives provide information and opinions from the parolees about their experiences of reintegration into community, and in particular some of the challenges they face in becoming accepted members of the community after their release from prison. In addition, their voices can be added to the debate about the efficacy of reintegration practices as they are currently provided by the CSC and social service agencies in the community under study. Barriers/Aids to Reintegration While all three parolees accessed a number of formal services in the community during their reintegration experiences, only Colin (who used the fewest services) was uncritical. He was assisted by a private home placement organized by the local parole office and his parole officer. However, the most important assistance that Colin received in reintegrating successfully into community was family assistance. His parents became advocates for his relocation to his home community, and they (and his friends) have provided substantial support in encouraging reintegration and re-entry to "normal" life. In other words, Colin returned to the community with a support network already in place, and he has had the most successful reintegration experience.  73  Bill and Jim continue to face a number of challenges to successful reintegration. While both have been assisted by formal services, provided by the CSC and social service agencies in the community, they are critical of the CSC and the parole office, and they reject any individual need for more services that would identify them as parolees in the community, for example, a halfway house or social housing for ex-inmates. Instead, they are anxious to avoid stigmatization and identification within the community. This presents a challenge for social service agencies, as there is an impetus to build more social housing in the community. Jim, in particular, was clearly uncomfortable in the social housing complex he lived in for a few months, as he rejected any identification with the other inhabitants. A l l three paroles suggested that their reintegration into community and "normal" life was effected by their individual ability to make changes, rather than through the assistance of formal services, particularly around substance abuse issues. In addition, although Bill has built up informal, "family" connections, he does have some concerns about what will happen to him as he ages. He has significant health problems, which may make it impossible for him to continue living in the homes of friends. There are no services available in the community through social service agencies that assist specifically with geriatric ex-inmates, but as Bill is on parole for the rest of his life, he will eventually need some kind of support services to assist him to remain in the community. Finally, while there is clearly a need for a rethinking of services and service delivery to parolees by social service agencies in the community, there are a number of  74  challenges inherent in delivering services to this particular group in the community, because of their intense need to remain "hidden" and unidentified. Personal Identity and Community Membership A l l three parolees rejected any attempt to be categorized as a "typical" ex-inmate. They all justified, in various ways, their anomalous status as "different from" other parolees. Colin did not identify as a parolee because he saw himself as a permanent "insider" in his home community, who had simply made a bad mistake that would not carry over into the rest of his life. He was, however, very careful to limit disclosure of his status to family and friends, and not to the wider community, including employers and co-workers. Bill and Jim are, at best, marginal "insiders" in the community. Bill has developed a network of family-like connections with a group of people in the community, some of whom have known him for twenty-five years or more. Although he is comfortable with these particular members of the community knowing about his status, he is careful not to disclose his status to many others, particularly in his neighborhood. His identity has been carefully cultivated as a "regular" guy who defended a community through his actions, and he is very concerned to remain unidentified as a parolee. Jim has also constructed an identity for himself, but as a student. He is comfortable with the superficial relationships that develop between classmates, and he has made no attempt to socialize with other students outside of class. He believes that he is accepted in the student role, but his ability to "pass as" a student may be compromised by his reconstruction of a prison-like schedule in daily life. A l l three parolees, in effect,  75  have attempted, with varying success, to remain "hidden" within the community, and to disclose their status as parolees only under carefully controlled conditions. Educational Initiatives to Promote Inclusiveness While a number of social services agencies in the community, particularly the local John Howard Society, in conjunction with the local parole office, have attempted to provide educational initiatives to the wider community on a number of parolee issues, their efforts have met with limited success. Discussions of national and provincial statistics that illustrate the efficacy of halfway houses in the reintegration process have been countered by opposition groups with media accounts of individual failures. The actual experiences of parolees who have been successful in reintegrating into the community under study may be more effective in changing community attitudes. Parolees have remained "hidden" from the wider community, partly because they want to remain unidentifiable and safe in the community, but their narratives (carefully edited to omit identifying details) could provide a "snapshot" of their experiences to other community members. Similarly, narratives of "good" community members who have chosen to work with parolees, for example, couples who provide private home placements in the community, may be effective in changing some community attitudes. Issues that affect Marginalized Groups The clearest issue that comes from the data is that the parolees strive hard to remain unidentifiable in the community and to "pass as" ordinary citizens. Although this may be possible for some parolees, at least part of the time, other marginalized groups, for example, the disabled, psychiatric patients, visible minorities, can be clearly identified within the community. They have no opportunities to remain "hidden". The parolees are  76  concerned about formal services that would identify them immediately to other community members. Therefore, social housing initiatives that focus on one particular issue, for example, housing ex-psychiatric patients, may have the unintended effect of ghettoizing a marginalized group and making them more visible within a hostile community. In addition, the emphasis on anonymity and confidentiality, while driven by safety concerns, also allows community members to stereotype "outsiders" and marginalized individuals by identifying them as a homogenous group. B y focusing on individual narratives, it is easier to recognize "outsiders" as distinct individuals. Similarly, by discussing individual difference, it may become easier to build tolerance for diversity within the dominant culture. For example, each parolee described his particular set of circumstances as necessarily distinct and different from any other parolee's.  77  CONCLUSION This exploratory study raises a number of questions about parolee experiences of reintegration, and one of the most important issues to consider is to what extent parolees have to remain invisible in the community in order to be successful in "passing as" ordinary citizens. The issue of identity resonates throughout each narrative, and each parolee has developed an individual response to the challenge of returning to community. However, all three were most concerned with remaining "hidden" within the community, even when accessing services to assist with employment, education and housing. Colin was encouraged by his parole officer not to reveal his status as a parolee when searching for work, and neither Colin nor Jim disclosed his status to other students. Their contradictory responses to the halfway house issue (strongly in favor but only for other parolees) reflect the difficulties inherent in attempting to reintegrate successfully in a community where they might remain indefinitely. They do not want to be labeled as "deviants". Nevertheless, parolees continue to be released into the community with limited preparation for life on the outside, and halfway housing could meet some of their transition needs. The parolees' focus on invisibility also leads to a consideration of the kinds of services that may be more effective in assisting reintegration. They were clearly not interested in formal group networks or support, but individual counseling and assistance might be useful. For example, specific reintegration counseling to parolees when they are released into a community could address both individual needs and assist in adapting to community norms, particularly for parolees who have served long sentences. In addition,  78  individual counseling and assistance around substance abuse issues could also assist parolees who continue to struggle with drug or alcohol problems. The major challenge, however, is how to change community perceptions about parolees. Although educational initiatives in the community have been unsuccessful to date in changing attitudes, a number of studies have shown that education can assist in controversial zoning issues before the community becomes polarized (Cheung, 1990; Repper & Brooker, 1996; Runyan & Faria, 1992). In the community under study, a broader dialogue that uses Habermas' "communicative action" approach to facilitate critical, public discourse by all community members around developing community norms of inclusion and tolerance rather than exclusion and discrimination could be developed. The aim is to reconstruct community values about the issue of "the common good" in an informed discourse that places local issues into a larger capitalist context of inequality, classism, sexism and racism. Deutschmann (2002) argues that N I M B Y i s m can only be resolved through the development of replacement discourses that reject exclusion and discrimination in communities. A possible forum for the development of a discourse of "communicative action" could be a restarted community mediation process. Pavlich (1996) describes community mediation as an opportunity to create empowered individuals who can change and strengthen communities. Similarly, Kruk (1997) describes transformative mediation as a model for empowerment and recognition for individuals and groups. The narrative approach attempts to reconstruct relationships based on understanding and tolerance (Winslade & Monk, 2000). The narratives from this study suggest that parolees are concerned with the challenge to reintegrate into community as full members, yet these  79  voices are not part of the community dialogue. The community under study has not had the opportunity to hear the narratives of parolees, whose voices (and bodies) remain hidden within the community, and this lack of representation has fueled stereotypes of ex-inmates as dangerous "outsiders" who should not be relocated into the community. Foucault's description of the "carceral city" in which parolees would be reformed from their "deviance" by public identification and recognition has not been the experience of parolees in this study. Instead, they remain invisible in this "carceral city", which publicly excoriates criminals and crime, while denying community membership to ex-inmates. The parolees' response has been to create a new identity as an "insider" in the community and to hide their parolee identity from public view. The result is paradoxical; parolees are admitted to the community (however marginally) but only by not admitting to their crimes. Foucault's description of rehabilitation and reintegration through public pressure to reform "criminal" and "deviant" behavior has been discarded in favor of a silencing of voices and narratives that would situate "crime" and "criminals" within community itself. Directions for Future Research This study suggests that parolee narratives could add another dimension to the community debate about crime, community membership, and "outsider" status, but further research is required to explore these issues more fully, both within the community under study and in other communities. Using a sample of three parolee narratives cannot provide an exhaustive view of the barriers and aids to reintegration in this community. In addition, community attitudes and perceptions may be quite different in communities where there are substantially more formal services to assist parolees to reintegrate. A  80  further study in a neighboring community where a halfway house is already located may provide additional information about how parolees experience the reintegration process when they are, perhaps, readily identifiable in the community. Their experiences of community attitudes may be very different from the parolees in this study. In addition, community perceptions of parolees may be substantially different in a location where a halfway house has been established for a number of years. Moreover, more research could be undertaken on the efficacy of narrative mediation in increasing tolerance and respect among community members whose attitudes have become polarized by conflict and controversy. Proponents of narrative mediation argue that this approach can be used to provide a resolution for contentious community disputes (Pavlich, 1996; Winslade & Monk, 2000). The data from this study suggest that parolees are most concerned with participating as full members of the community, but they feel that they must keep their identity hidden. However, the narratives of parolee experiences provide powerful "oppositional stories" (Hinchman & Hinchman, 1997) to the dominant discourse on crime, rehabilitation and reintegration, and their voices should be included in the decision-making that affects their lives. At this point, their narratives remain "hidden" and not part of the general knowledge within the community on issues of law and order and the "common sense" approach to crime. Furthermore, no published studies to date have provided an exemplar of a successful model for action.  81  References Balin, J. (1999). A neighborhood divided: Community resistance to an AIDS care facility. Ithaca, N Y . : Cornell University Press. Benhabib, S. (1990). 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Negotiation Journal, 14(1), 21-41.  86  APPENDIX A  INTERVIEW GUIDE  87  Interview Protocol Project: Reintegration of Parolees into the Kamloops Community Time of interview: Date: Place: Interviewer: Interviewee: (Briefly describe the project)  Questions: 1. Describe the services and/or assistance provided to you by social service agencies in Kamloops on your release from prison and comment on their effectiveness.  2. What kind of family support have you received to assist you since release?  3. Describe any health-related or personal issues that have had an impact on your return to the community.  4. What is your experience of community attitudes towards ex-inmates/parolees in Kamloops?  5. What kinds of additional services do you think would be useful in assisting with reintegration into community?  (Thank individual for participating in this interview. Assure him/her of confidentiality of responses and potential future interviews.) 88  APPENDIX B  A G E N C Y CONSENT F O R M  89  APPENDIX C  RECRUITMENT LETTER  92  APPENDIX D  PARTICIPANT C O N S E N T F O R M  95  APPENDIX E  ETHICS A P P R O V A L CERTIFICATE  98  


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