With incarceration and recidivism rates escalating and the failure of many former prisoners to reconnect with family post release, the cost to society and to children of incarcerated parents is quickly rising. While intervention on the family level is thought to have great promise in reducing recidivism, in order to effectively guide research and intervention, current theory must be evaluated for its sensitivity to the context of incarceration and additional theoretical work is needed to conceptualize how incarceration affects paternal identity. This paper proposes using identity theory to conceptualize how incarceration influences how fathers think of themselves. Using Burke's 1991 Identity Theory conceptualization, this paper explores how the unique context of prison interrupts the paternal identity confirmation process, which subsequently affects familial relationships and reconnection. (Author abstract).
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