Despite broad scholarship documenting the compounding effects and self-reproducing character of incarceration, ways of conceptualising imprisonment and the post-prison experience have scarcely changed in over a century. Contemporary correctional thinking has congealed around notions of risk and management. This book aims to cast new light on men’s experience of release from prison.

Drawing on research conducted in Australia, it speaks to the challenges facing people leaving prison and seeking acceptance amongst the non-imprisoned around the world. Johns reveals the complexity of the post-prison experience, which is frequently masked by constructions of risk that individualise responsibility for reoffending and reimprisonment. This book highlights the important role of community in ex-prisoner integration, in providing opportunities for participation and acceptance. Johns shows that the process of becoming an ‘ex’-prisoner is not simply one of individual choice or larger structural forces, but occurs in the spaces in between.

Being and Becoming an Ex-Prisoner reveals the complex interplay between internal and external meanings and practices that causes men to feel neither locked up, nor wholly free. It will appeal to scholars and students interested in desistance, criminology, criminological or penological theory, sociology and qualitative research methods.

chapter 1|12 pages

What’s the post-release problem?

chapter 2|23 pages

A catalogue of post-prison disadvantage

chapter 3|28 pages

The post-release problem

chapter 4|32 pages

Assemblage, culture, liminality

chapter 5|16 pages


chapter 6|32 pages

Lived experience of release

chapter 7|28 pages

Post-release support perspectives

chapter 8|27 pages

Home, identity, connection

chapter 9|11 pages

Being and becoming