Boston Reentry Study

The Boston Reentry Survey is a collaborative study led by Bruce Western (Harvard) and Anthony Braga (Rutgers), and Rhiana Kohl (Research Unit, Massachusetts Department of Correction).

The study is an intensive longitudinal data collection of a sample of 135 men and women leaving state prison in Massachusetts for communities in the Boston area. Through a series of interviews over a period of a year, the study aims to examine the employment, family life, housing, and health of men and women just released from prison. In-prison interviews ask respondents about their pre-prison education, employment, involvement in crime, and drug use, their in-prison activities including program participation and peer networks, and their expectations for post-prison life, such as housing and employment plans. 

After release from prison, our survey instruments focus on the structure and dynamics of respondents’ households and families, housing, employment, drug and alcohol use, and participation in welfare and other programs. More open-ended questions ask about respondents’ transition to life outside of prison and aim to discover what respondents find most supportive or challenging upon their release from incarceration

The Boston Reentry Study was made possible by the hundreds of men and women who shared their time and life experience so that we may learn about the effects of incarceration on American families and communities. We gratefully acknowledge the significant assistance of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. We also thank the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Behavioral Laboratory in the Social Sciences (BLISS) at Harvard, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School for their support of this research.