Rethinking Recidivism: A Communication Approach to Prison Reentry

While traditional methods of surveillance and control focus on the observable problems of recidivism, Koschmann and Peterson argue that the underlying cause is a communication breakdown of being cut off from networks and meaningful relationships that provide the necessary social capital needed for successful reintegration. Therefore, their article proposes reframing prisoner reentry from a communication perspective, and thus in need of corresponding communication solutions.

This communication-based approach is developed in contrast to conventional criminal justice perspectives that see recidivism as resulting from bad personal choices and flawed characteristics. Koschmann and Peterson highlight mentoring as a promising, but under-utilized reentry strategy that is most in line with their communication approach to prisoner reentry. By applying insights from communication theory based on a constitutive model of communication, they develop an applied orientation towards prisoner reentry that illustrates how mentoring relationships create and restore the social fabric that is necessary for successful reintegration

The article by Matt Koschmann and Brittany Peterson was published in the  Journal of Applied Social Sciences in the Fall 2013.


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