Since the mid-1970s the United States has experienced an enormous rise in incarceration rates. At year-end 2010, about 2.3 million U.S. adults were incarcerated in state and federal prisons – or about 0.7% of the entire adult population. Such high rates have led some to term this the era of mass imprisonment.
Because almost all prisoners are eventually released, mass imprisonment has in turn produced a steep rise in the number of individuals reentering society. More than 700,000 individuals are now released from state and federal prisons each year.
What happens to these individuals in the weeks, months, and years after release?
What factors affect their ability to rebuild their lives?
The Michigan Study of Life After Prison is a set of linked research projects on prisoner reentry and the effects of incarceration in Michigan. With the cooperation of the Michigan Department of Corrections and other state agencies, we are collecting and analyzing administrative records and interview data on individuals released from prison and others convicted of felonies. Our goals are to better understand the experiences of former prisoners as they return to society, the role of social contexts such as neighborhoods and families in prisoner reentry and reintegration, and the impact of incarceration on employment and future criminal activity.