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No Entry: Examining the Pitfalls of Reentry and Criminal Records in the Age of Mass Incarceration
AuthorWirthlin, Erica Leigh
AdvisorBoehm, Deborah A.
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The dramatic increase in the number of individuals with criminal records warrants examining reentry and the maintenance of criminal records for those concerned with the criminal justice system and the rise of mass incarceration. This study aims to shed light on the ways in which individuals with criminal records experience a marginalized status in the United States. Ethnographic research was conducted in Reno over the span of eight months at two sites that provide services for individuals with criminal records. I situate barriers to re-integrating into the Reno community after prison, such as difficulties obtaining employment and bureaucratic setbacks, within larger theoretical frameworks of citizenship and marginalization. I argue criminal records produce ongoing punishment and exclusion. As the state creates and maintains criminal records, it also reproduces a social order that offers little to no mobility for those at the bottom. Individuals with criminal records experience the work of waiting in both the everyday and in a larger sense of waiting for their post-incarceration sentence to end.