rehabilitation, parole hearing, ethnography, identity, discourse


Research on parole in the United States has primarily followed a deterministic approach, favoring an examination of variables contributing to release. However, a great deal of prior research neglects a central aspect of the parole process: mainly the hearing. Adopting an ethnographically informed conversation analytic approach, this article addresses one tactic offenders utilize to appeal to a state parole board for release– claiming rehabilitated status. Offenders appealing for parole attempt to establish, in a performative space, their identity as rehabilitated. More globally, this article addresses how individual manage, assert, and negotiate identity in the course of interaction. The achievement of “rehabilitation” is substantiated when it results in early release from prison.

Author Bio

Danielle Lavin-Loucks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Valparaiso University in the United States.

Kristin M. Levin is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Idaho in the United States.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.