Prisoner Reentry and Recidivism According to the Formerly Incarcerated and Reentry Service Providers: A Verbal Behavior Approach




Travis, Raphael
Bowman, Scott

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American Psychological Association


Successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into communities is important because of both the personal and emotional costs to the former offender and the social and financial costs to the community and criminal justice system. Prior research examining reentry success has used structural and psychological explanations for better understanding the processes that contribute to recidivism. Using B.F. Skinner’s (1957) Theory of Verbal Behavior as a theoretical foundation, twelve focus groups totaling 128 formerly incarcerated persons and reentry service providers were conducted that explored perspectives of the current reentry system, views on recidivism, and opportunities for improvement. Results indicate that a Verbal Behavior approach enhances the understanding of reentry when examined as a metacontingency with a goal of a particular outcome. Implications for reentry intervention are discussed.



incarceration, recidivism, development, theory of verbal behavior, social disorganization, reentry, Criminal Justice and Criminology


Bowman, S. W., & Travis, R., Jr. (2012). Prisoner reentry and recidivism according to the formerly incarcerated and reentry service providers: A verbal behavior approach. The Behavior Analyst Today, 13(3-4), pp. 9-19.


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