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Michael Aquino (UROC-H)

Welcome Home: How Does Gentrification Intensify Social Reentry Difficulties of Former Inmates

Michael Aquino, Yajaira Ceciliano Navarro, MA, and Tanya Golash-Boza, PhD

When studying the social reentry of former inmates, studies on incarceration have focused their attention on stigma and its effects on employment and housing opportunities. Whereas, research on gentrification has studied the influence gentrification has on specific urban neighborhoods towards the increasing rates of incarceration. Nevertheless, studies have not taken into consideration how gentrification intensifies the social reentry difficulties of former inmates. This study, based on 25 in-depth interviews with former inmates from Washington, DC, shows how gentrification increases former inmates’ difficulties in their social reentry process. Findings demonstrate inmates have experienced stigma when searching for employment, but not during their search for housing. Additionally, interviewees describe the difficulties of affording housing because of its increasing price due to gentrification. Finally, narratives also indicate the importance of studying how gentrification may intensify the social reentry difficulties of former inmates.

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The UROC-H Program and Michael's research project were supported with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation