PILOT TEST 1
In this study, ten participants were selected for the research. Therewere six men and three women. Two of the men had been imprisoned for8 and 10 years, serving charges of robbery with violence andmanslaughter respectively. Three other men had been in jail for lessthan 5 years, and they were serving sentences for petty crimes. Thelast man had been in jail for 35 years, and had been recentlyreleased on parole. He was serving the sentences for the crime ofrobbery with violence, careless driving, threatening an officer,resisting arrest and possession of drugs. The man had been releasedon basis of good conduct while under incarceration. Four of theprisoners were living in the same town, while two others were livingelsewhere.
Two of the women prisoners were sisters, and had been jailed forchild neglect and possession of stolen property. They had been behindbars for a year each. The third lady had been in prison for 12 years,having been charged with possession of firearms and causing publicunrest. The last lady had served 26 years, having been charged ofarson and second degree murder. She was also released on basis ofgood conduct while behind bars.
For the survey, structured and non-structured questionnaires wereused, as earlier described in the proposal. The questionnaires weredesigned that some of the questions had to be responded to on basisof a Likert scale. Jamieson (2004) says that a Likert scale helps toevaluate the weight of opinion regarding certain variables andelements in research. The participants were questioned about theirperception of life outside the prison, and whether they felt thatthey were prepared to join the society after being locked up. At thesame time, the participants were asked to state their level ofsatisfaction with the correctional process, and whether they feltthat they would recommend the same for other wrong doers. Similarly,the participants were asked if they had any suggestions for changesto the correctional process in the country, and what they thoughtwould work better if implemented.
Theapproach used in the survey was satisfactory. This is because beforegoing to do the actual survey, the questions were revised andstructured in a way that the participants would give informationfreely and still uphold their anonymity. At the same time, whileanalyzing the data from the questionnaires, the researcher was ableto group pools of data that were related. Gelman et al. (2014) andPickard (2012) say that the purpose of this is to analyze the dataseparately without mixing up variables, which may result in wrongfindings. Similarly, by using questionnaires in the survey, theresearcher could create a connection with the respondents and be ableto read body signs, hence telling whether the information wasreliable or not.
Matthews & Ross (2014) assert that it is advisable and expectedof a researcher to follow the procedures that had been laid out in aproposal, for purposes of objectivity and scope. The proceduredescribed in the proposal was followed with high levels of accuracy.One of the requirements was that both genders had to be representedin the survey. For this, the researcher ensured that an equal number,or almost, of male and female ex-prisoners had to be surveyed.Equally, the researcher conducted family members, friends and paroleofficers to ascertain the nature of crimes that had been committed,and background information about the offenders. Equally, theresearcher probed the participants on their perception to the currentreentry services and opportunities, with the guidelines that wereprovided by the questionnaires. Nothing was done different from whathad been planned in the proposal.
It was found that the participants had divergent opinions on theeffectiveness of the correctional process. At the same time, theresearcher established that while some former prisoners may besatisfied with the current status of reentry policies, a big numberwas still not confident with its effectiveness.
Secondly, it was established that male former prisoners had an easiertime integrating back into the society after incarceration. This wasbecause they had better chance of gaining social and economicrecognition than their female counterparts. While the main objectiveof the female former prisoners concentrated on beginning a newpersonal life, most of their male counterparts looked to rejoin withtheir families.
Finally, the research established that there is need for quick actioninto reforming the reentry policies, as most of the people were notconfident with its effectiveness. The responsible bodies are thecorrectional facilities’ administrations and the federalgovernments.
The methodology was effective in the pilot study. The researcher hadeasy time collecting information and verifying its credibility, giventhat the data collection process was conducted face-to-face with theformer prisoners. At the same time, ethical considerations wereadhered to, as the participant’s anonymity and privacy was upheld.However, in future research, there may be need of expanding thesample size, as the topic is highly dynamic and the feedback variesgreatly from one participant to another.
Howdid you recruit the individuals?
First,I visited the local prisons authorities and asked to see the wardenabout the recently released prisoners. I provided the warden withreasons for my research, and after showing the relevant documents(such as identification card) after which I was provided with thelist. I then approached the selected individual, whom I explained myintent of research and asked or their cooperation and support.
Howdid you administer survey?
Iset up meetings with the former prisoners at their homes and inpublic places. I provided them with the questionnaires, guided themthrough to understand the requirements, and asked them to fill them.I however did not influence their decisions, as I asked them to feelfree to fill in whatever they wanted, as long as it was relevant andaccurate.
Whatopen and closed ended questions were included in the survey?
What do you think of the life outside prison?
What assistance would you need to help you begin a new life outside prison?
What would you recommend for changes in the correctional system?
How would you help other prisoners to get prepared for life outside prison?
Do you think you are a reformed individual since leaving prison?
Are you psychologically prepared to rejoin the society?
Ona scale of 1-10, based on your opinion, 1 meaning strongly disagree,and 10 meaning strongly agree, please answer the following questions.
The U.S correctional system is effective in transforming prisoner’s behaviors.
You support the efforts put in by the correctional officers in rehabilitating the prisoners.
Much is to be done for effective correctional procedures.
Many prisoners are psychologically prepared to re-enter the society after being locked up.
Didthe respondents sign a consent form?
Yes.This was one of the preliminary requirements of my research beforeengaging them.
Fromthe closed ended questions, 65% of the respondents thought they werereformed after prison, while only 44% thought they were ready torejoin the society.
Therewas a general negative perception of the correctional system from theLikert-scale questions.
Someimportant quotes from the open-ended questions:
“Lifeoutside prison sucks, but it is still much better than that behindthe walls”.
“Ineed religious intervention to prepare me psychologically”.
“Thesystem needs shuffling. Too many loose ends in reforms”.
“Myadvice to other prisoners being released is that they should firstlook for some work”.
Gelman, A., Carlin, J. B., Stern,H. S., & Rubin, D. B. (2014). Bayesiandata analysis (Vol.2). London: Chapman & Hall/CRC.
Jamieson, S. (2004). Likert scales:how to (ab) use them. Medicaleducation,38(12),1217-1218.
Matthews, B., & Ross, L.(2014). Researchmethods. Pearson HigherEd.
Pickard, A. (2012). Researchmethods in information.Facet publishing.