Fathering After Incarceration: Navigating the Return of Young, Black Men to Families, Jobs & Communities

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Incarceration, and reentry after incarceration, is the most common experience for young, low-income Black men across their life course (Tierny, 2014). While most Black men work, go to school, get married and start families, others, especially those who are low-income are at a higher risk to experience incarceration. As a result, incarceration challenges these men’s ability to reconnect with social institutions such as work, school, and marriage post release. More importantly, incarceration separates these men from their families for extended periods of time. This dissertation utilized social ecological theory and life course theory to examine the lives and families of these Black fathers. I recruited 40 incarcerated fathers for life history interviews in a local department of corrections, and I analyzed how incarceration re-arranged the lives of these men as well as the development of their children, and how men reentered their families and communities after incarceration.