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An environment of service and volunteerism: The impact of the Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) program on prisoners’ self-esteem and civic development
Jacquelyn Frank, Assistant Professor & Coordinator, Gerontology MA Program, Eastern Illinois University [jbfrank@eiu.edu]

Keywords: Prisoner rehabilitation, self-esteem, civic development, Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) program

Conference track: Community partnerships and outcomes

Format: Poster presentation

Summary
This year‐long study examines the impact of the Purposeful Living Units Serve (PLUS) program on a cohort of maximum-security inmates in Indiana. The Criminal Thinking Scales (CTS) instrument and Rosenberg Self‐Esteem Scale were administered at five intervals to measure changes in civic development and self‐esteem among participating inmates. This presentation discusses the construction and results of the study.

The PLUS program is a faith‐and character‐based community (connected to a particular cell house) that promotes alternatives to criminal thinking and behavior through various programs (life-skills, community service, etc.).

Over the years, the PLUS program has grown. Despite the proliferation of the PLUS program, there is an absence of research conducted on the rehabilitative impact on inmates who complete the program. The researcher examines the impact of PLUS on prisoners’ self‐esteem and civic development. The study addresses the research question: Does participation in the PLUS program reduce criminal rationalization and cold‐heartedness among inmates while simultaneously increasing their self‐esteem and sense of civic responsibility?

The researcher will present relevant literature and the ways in which data was collected and analyzed.

References
Bazemore, G., & Stinchcomb, J. (2004). Involving community through service and restorative justice: Theory and practice for a civic engagement model of reentry. Federal Probation 68(2), 14–24.

Castellano, T., & Soderstrom, I. (2004). Self-esteem, depression, and anxiety evidenced by a prison inmate sample: interrelationships and consequences for prison programming. In M. Stohr & C. Hemmens (Eds.), The inmate prison experience (pp. 63–82). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Farrant, F., & Levenson, J. (2002). Barred citizens: volunteering and active citizenship by prisoners. London, UK: Prison Reform Trust.

Goffman, E. (1963) Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Irwin, J., & Cressey, D. (2004). Thieves, convicts and the inmate culture. In M. Stohr & C. Hemmens (Eds.), The inmate prison experience (pp. 3–16). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Knight, K., Bryan, R., Garner, D., Simpson, D., Morey, J. T., & Flynn, P. (2006). Criminal thinking scales. Crime & Delinquency, 52(1), 159–177.

LeBel, T. P. (2006). Invisible stripes? Formerly incarcerated persons' perceptions of and responses to stigma. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest UMI (AAT 3205399).

Pryor, S. (2001). The responsible prisoner: An exploration of the extent to which imprisonment removed responsibility unnecessarily and an invitation to change. London, UK: Crown Copyright Home Office.

Rex, S., & Gelsthorpe, J. (2004). Using community service to encourage inclusive citizenship. In R. Burnett & C. Roberts (Eds.), What works in probation and youth justice: Developing evidence-based practice (pp. 198–216). Portland, OR: Willan.

Rosenberg, M. (1989). Society and the adolescent self-image. (Rev. ed.) Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Toch, H. (1975). Men in crisis: Human breakdowns in prison. Piscataway, NJ: AldineTransaction.

Toch, H. (2000). Altruistic activity as correctional treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 44(3), 270–278.

Walters, G. D. (1995). The psychological inventory of criminal thinking styles: Part I: Reliability and preliminary validity. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 22(3), 307–325.

Uggen, C., Manza, J., & Behrens, A. (2004). Less than the average citizen: Stigma, role transition and the civic reintegration of convicted felons. In S. Maruna & R. Immarigeon (Eds.), After crime and punishment: Pathways to offender reintegration (pp. 261–93). Portland, OR: Willan.

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