Theses Doctoral

Empowerment and Revelation Through Literature: a Digital Book Club for Post-incarceration

Smith, Anderson Patrick Collin

Bibliotherapy—the use of books to facilitate the recovery of people in distress from an emotional disturbance—has a history of nurturing metacognition to achieve a cathartic expression by verbal and nonverbal means. The support of a community with shared traumatic experiences, such as incarceration, can help sustain the benefits of bibliotherapy. This exploratory qualitative research study is focuses on a digital book club consisting of men and women with criminal conviction histories (CCH), along with the ways in which a work of fiction could promote self-reflection and resilience necessary for self-rehabilitation. Post-Incarceration Syndrome (PICS) is the leading cause of recidivism among both males and females in the United States, many of whom may have other mental disorders as well. Among those with PICS, incarceration transcends a physical location and becomes a state of mind: mental incarceration. The study’s participants were people who had served over one year of time in a minimum- to maximum-security or federal prison, and who had agreed to participate in an optional four-week digital book club focused on a selected work of fiction. This study contributes to the body of literature surrounding self-rehabilitation and social change by informing administrators, faculty, and staff involved in correctional education that a digital book club could be a viable means of self-empowerment for a person with a CCH, post-incarceration.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Vinz, Ruth
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 2, 2020