‘On the Outside’: UC Berkeley professor’s 7-year study on mass incarceration and prisoner rehabilitation
In 2006, David Harding, then faculty member at the University of Michigan, initiated a seven-year research project on the successes and failures of systemic prisoner rehabilitation.
With two other colleagues, Harding gathered data from roughly 11,000 former state prisoners in Michigan who were released in 2003, 22 of whom they continuously followed up on for three years. They wanted to make readers aware of the various plights prisoners face in their process of rejoining society.
The findings are presented in their forthcoming 2019 book “On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration,” which combines personal narratives as well as statistical data to convey a complete picture of the individuals involved. Harding hopes the book can shed light on the experience inmates go through and the many struggles they face in rehabilitation while teaching about the longstanding legislative discourse on criminal justice. After all, it’s hard to ease their plight while standing on the outside without listening to the voices within.
Harding, now a professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, shares his fact-finding journey.