Anticipated Alienation and Critical Social Work: Ex-Offenders' Perspectives on Re-entry

Adi Barak, Amy Stebbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The criminal justice system constrains social workers' ability to practice critical social work. Given the increased rates of re-entry from prison into disenfranchised, minority communities in the USA, knowledge about re-entry should be made available to social workers wishing to assist those who suffer from extreme marginalisation and oppression during re-entry. In this qualitative research study, we interviewed American male halfway house residents (N = 21) in the lead-up to their release about their perspectives on returning to their communities of origin, settling into other communities and meeting individuals from outside of their immediate social networks. Our results demonstrate that research participants anticipated experiencing social alienation in all three domains. Our discussion contextualises these findings within two dimensions of critical social work: critical consciousness and critical social policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-56
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • Alienation
  • community
  • critical social work
  • prisoner re-entry


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