Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Ann M. Mayo, DNSc, RN, FAAN, Committee Member; Patricia Leslie, PhD, MSW, Committee Member


nursing, post incarceration, reintegration, women


Women released from prison or jail face particular obstacles and challenges on reentry to the community, many of which are related to their childhood and to gender roles as women and mothers. This study relates the lived experience of one woman's successful transition to economic and mainstream societal reintegration and family reconnection after release from prison and the insights gained by the researcher. Case study methodology congruent with Miller's Relational-Cultural Theory philosophical framework was utilized in this in-depth, single case design and represents a unique case. The overall purpose of this descriptive and explanatory research was to explore precursors to criminality particular to women and the connective constructs enabling cognitive, psychological, and behavioral lifestyle change. This qualitative study was a step in understanding how a formerly incarcerated woman successfully overcame obstacles to reconnection, employment, and reintegration into society, leading to the discovery of a structure comprising four major themes, nine minor themes, and three sub themes. Factors initiating a turning point related to the participant's dramatic, life-changing spiritual experience and resulting dynamic motivation; factors affecting reentry into the community were apparent in the participant attending college, obtaining a job, and reconnecting with significant family members; factors influencing the journey to jail were represented as clarity of lifestyle consequences to self and others; factors affecting reentry into the community were associated with understanding of self and others, increased confidence and self-esteem, and excelling in college and work; and factors supporting and maintaining successful reintegration were exampled by relational reconnection, mentoring opportunities, and community involvement. Implications for further research were uncovered through better understanding of the life experiences leading to a spiritual, life-changing choice and subsequent successful reintegration of the participant post incarceration.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons