Punishment Beyond Bars: Pursuing Education with the Mark of Incarceration

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

Arthur Scarritt


The American criminal justice system is designed so that individuals who commit incarcerable crimes spend their allotted time within the penal institution until they are remedied and released. However, offenders re-enter with the “criminal” stigma which obstructs their navigation through everyday life. The system is inherently reactive yet claims to inhibit unlawful activity by means of fines and/or societal exclusion. I will critically analyze how the system’s concentration on retribution affects the ability of offenders to reintegrate into society. Research indicates that the offenders who choose to attend college prove most successful at reintegrating and are said to “enrich institutions of higher education” (Halkovic & Greene, 2015). Qualitative data will be collected through interviews with these students to illuminate the most enduring obstacles even they face. This research seeks to discover how the criminalization of these college students affects their ability to progressively navigate their lives as citizens and students.

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