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Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison Paperback – July 7, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeffrey Ian Ross, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, College of Public Affairs, and a Research Fellow of the Center for International and Comparative Law, at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of several books including Special Problems in Corrections (Prentice Hall, 2007). During the 1980's, Ross worked almost four years in a correctional facility. In 2005-2006 he was a member of the Prisoner/Prisoner Advocate Liaison Group for the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine committee examining ethics and research with prisoners.

Stephen C. Richards, Ph.D., is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 1983, he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Richards was sentenced to 9 years and served time in 9 federal prisons. Released from federal prison in 1987, he completed his M.A. in sociology (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1989) and Ph.D. in Sociology (Iowa State University, 1992). His work has appeared in numerous academic journals.

Jeffrey Ian Ross and Stephen C. Richards are also the authors of Behind Bars (Alpha/Penguin, 2002) and Convict Criminology (Wadsworth, 2003).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA; 1 edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592578519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592578511
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael L. Lenza on July 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a prior offender myself, I read this book with great interest. I personally have been out of prison for some time now, earned a Doctorate, and I am now employed as a tenured track professor. I research and publish on Criminal Justice Policies and outcomes.

For most offenders surviving their return to society (re-entry) is a daunting task. Re-adjusting to society, learning how to deal with your prior offense with employers, new associates and friends, and developing a solid understanding of what is and what is not helpful as you try to make your way back into society: well, knowledgeable guidance is most helpful and hard to get.

So many earnest parolees have difficulty coming to terms and learning all of this, all at once. This book informs on all these issues and more in an intentionally easily readable fashion.

I would recommend families or friends of inmates getting out of jail/prison to get them a copy of this book and have them read it several times. It will help understand what they are facing and how to best deal with it.

For college and university courses, this is a solid book to use as a reader to help students see and understand the many problems ex-convicts face re-entering society, and the type of coping skills they need to develop to make it on probation or parole.

With 1 in 31 Americans in jail, prison or under some form of criminal justice supervision, this is a timely and desperately needed book by two authors who know what they are talking about. I most highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book really opened my eyes to just how difficult it is for one to make it in the outside world after doing a stint in prison. For those looking to turn their lives around after doing their time, they enter a world where not many people want to give them a second chance. Many employers will not consider hiring ex-cons and many other employers can't even if they wanted to. When they do find a job, their ex-con status automatically makes them the prime suspect or scapegoat if anything goes wrong in the office (such as a theft). In this book, Jeffrey Ross and Stephen Richards carefully outlines all of these minefields and gives good advice on how to steer clear of them.

For example, the book recommends that you avoid owning a car (at least during your probation period) due to the simple fact that cops run plates of cars as a matter of routine while on their shifts. When a plate number comes back as registered to somebody who is on probation, more often than not, they are going assume the worst and pull that car over to check things out. Anybody who has seen a few episodes of COPS will know how quickly those "routine stops" can take a turn for the worse. If a passenger in your car is doing or holding something illegal, even if you don't know about it, guess who's going back to jail.

The United States has a staggering amount of people who have gotten tangled up in the criminal justice system, many of whom initially got in for relatively minor, non-violent offenses. But once you get a felony rap on your record, the odds are against you going forward, especially in the age of the Internet where neighbors and employers can easily access your record and blacklist you.
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As a PhD student in Criminology who has focused a large portion of his studies on the issue of reentry, I can tell that there is a vital need for resources such as this book. Prisons in America do not do a good job helping prisoners make the transition from the very structured environment of prison to the unstructured environment of the free world. There is also a lack of resources available for people who are released from prison available through prisons, probation and parole. This book provides valuable information for inmates and their families, as well as for criminal justice professionals working with them.
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I just finished reading this book recently and had to comment on it- for anyone who is currently behind bars, is under control of the criminal justice system, who is or has a friend or family member with a criminal conviction in their past, this book is a valuable resource and should be used as a guide throughout the re-entry process.

The thing I liked about this book is that it was written in a very straight-forward manner; not a bunch of academic fluff, but practical advice that real people can access easily and use, advice that will help those understand better the reality of their own unique situation as felons and what they can expect on the outside. It is a guide that can (and should) be referred back to often. Topics include: finding a place to stay, finding work, dealing with your parole officer, pursuing higher education, family life, debt, staying clean and out of trouble- all the issues people re-entering society will face. I also liked that this book took a look at the both the male and female perspectives of re-entry, noting the unique challenges women may face in the process.

A key ingredient in any success is sufficient access to the right resources. These can from from all sorts of places - from books and videos, seminars, social service agencies, mentors, etc. One needs to acquire accurate and useful knowledge that, when acted upon, will directly help them toward their goal. This book is one of such valuable resource for the person with a criminal record. If read and applied, it will aid you on your journey and in the many important decisions you are faced with in the aftermath of a conviction.
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