Inside the Lives of Hispanic Origin Ex-Convicts: Pre- and Post-Incarceration


Using in-depth interviews, this study examined the social upbringing, subjective experiences and coping mechanisms of Mexican origin ex-convicts before and after their incarceration. Overall, our participants experienced multiple structural disadvantages prior to and following incarceration. Many grew up in environments with little social control—lacking good parenting or role models—and embedded in communities of concentrated poverty and criminality. Many also disclosed their struggles to survive, lack of positive influences and legitimate/constructive coping mechanisms. Contrary to public stereotypes that Mexican origin ex-convicts are hardcore criminals, many were convicted of non-violent drug-related charges and the majority aspired to a crime-free future. To reduce recidivism and minimize future re-offending, we suggest that clinical practitioners, social service providers and policy planners address the aforementioned needs and challenges that contributed to ex-convicts getting in trouble with the law to begin with.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2018-12-01
Pages:83 to 99
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How to Cite
Paat, Y.-F., Hope, T. L., Zamora, H., Lopez, L. C. and Salas, C. (2018) “Inside the Lives of Hispanic Origin Ex-Convicts: Pre- and Post-Incarceration”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 7(4), pp. 83-99. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v7i4.931.

Author Biographies

University of Oklahoma
 United States

Trina L. Hope is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She is a sociologically-trained criminologist whose research focuses primarily on the causes of crime and delinquency, particularly the role of the family, peers, and self-control.

The University of Texas at El Paso
 United States

Former Director of Special Programs, West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Dept.; Former Assistant Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, El Paso County Juvenile Probation Dept.; Former Affiliate Sex Offender Treatment Provider; Former  Director/Vice-President of Training, Dismas Charities Inc.; Current Assistant Criminal Justice Professor, El Paso Community College; Current Part-time Lecturer Criminal Justice and Social Work, University of Texas at El Paso; Current Internship Coordinator/Field Instructor Dismas Charities, Inc. Former United States Marine Corps and United States Army Reservist. LMSW.