How can loved ones influence ex-convicts to stop breaking the law?


This literature review focuses on how loved ones could influence ex-convicts to stay away from breaking the law. Being released from prison allows ex-convicts to have a new phase of life. However, challenges and obstacles such as immediate housing, employment and welfare privileges (Wright, Hoffmann, & Cohen, 2018) were considered a luxury to them due to the lack of resources that they have. This meant they were left to rely on friends and family to help them get back on their feet (Wright et al, 2018).

For most individuals, they would look to family and peers for support, since the strength of family and friends were stronger (Paat, Hope, Zamora, Lopez, & Sales, 2018). With them around, these would be more motivated as they work to reintegrate back into society.

With reference to how they were being raised, studies by Paat et al. (2018) indicated how certain individuals who were raised from young in poverty or crime-related environments could promote negative social upbringing. This could be a possible reason why they chose to associate with individuals who adopt antisocial norms such as being influenced to criminal activity (Hamilton.

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2016). Hence, my research question for the review will be on what how loved ones could influences ex-convicts to stop breaking the law.

To furher my research on young offenders, the study by McNeill, Farrall, Lightowler, & Maruna’s (2012) on understanding desistance from crime mentioned that offending behavior peaks for people during their teenage years. Certain form of behavior such as association with convicted parents (Besemer, Farrington, & Bijleveld, 2017) and labelling by society have played a part in amplifying criminal behaviors in youths.

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Moreover, a young offender’s behavior was described by Besemer et al. (2017) as being more malleable compared to older offenders. This helped us to understand that aggressive behavior could be determined by how experienced they were in terms of their social skills. This shows that they will be more sensitive, meaning being more prone to provocations from society (Besemer et al., 2017).

How individuals could secure and retaining their jobs could be determined by their progress in reintegration. Especially those who have were already parents themselves, the financial pressure (Harding, Wyse, Dobson, & Morenoff. 2014) of being the main provider increases. Those who were fortunate enough to have support and connections (Paat et al. 2018) from their own family members would be blessed with fewer burdens. However, for those left them, as described by Paat et al.’s article (2018), would resort to “coping mechanism” such as alcohol and substance abuse to deal with stress. This contributed to the possible desire to reoffend.

With regards to variables on the difficulties of reintegration, it was noted that parents of convicted individuals took the opportunity to sign up for community supervision programs that shared about successfully reformed convicts (Harding e al. 2018). Article by Wright. (2018) shows the teachings of “self-development, advancing careers, getting educated” done by rehabilitation programs. Families who decided to educate themselves could learn to be more responsible in facilitating their reintegration (Harding e al. 2018). On a parent’s perspective, not everyone will be equipped with tools and skills to facilitate their convicted child’s reintegration. Hence, it was important that I display research on parents who try their best to associate and be a role for their child as individuals tend to view parents as their main source of support (Paat et al. 2018)

Another form of negative influence would be Dominguez Alvarez, & Loureiro’s, (2012) study on ex-convicts dealing with social stigma. Their research discussed about how consequences and effects of prison life could affect their employment status and their income in the workforce. Not only could this bring low self-esteem and confidence in these individuals, which could lead them to turn their backs on society. Studies that supported how employers show dismay in hiring ex-convicts could be seen in Graffam, Shinkfield, & Hardcastle’s, (2008) article on the percentage of employers hiring the services of former convicts:

“Nearly two thirds of employers reported that they would not hire a person with a criminal record. In fact, employers indicated more willingness to hire welfare recipients and individuals with minimal work experience than someone with a criminal record. In addition, between 30% and 40% of employers who were likely to hire less educated workers indicated that they conducted background checks of recently hired employees (para 3)”.

This information provided a brief description that having a criminal record could deny them job and career opportunities. Without a steady source of income to look forward to, they would have little choice but to solely depend on friends and family for support. The case of disapproval from employers (Paat et al., 2018) could make it worse for convicted parents as they would adopt a negative attitude towards society. Hence, it is possible that a weak family structure could be due to a lack of understanding between both child and parent.

Goals of This Review (What research has been done)

With the background in mind, the goal of this review is to find out if strong family ties with support from peers could reduce the percentages of individuals reoffending and influence their desire to accept treatment from rehabilitation facilities. This work also analyzes offender’s social and economic upbringing. In return, our understanding on how they were being influenced to commit criminal behavior will be better. In doing so, I have sourced articles and employment data which focused on the characteristics and personalities of youth and repeated offenders in corrective rehabilitation facilities. Using those sources, I can know whether discrimination or labelling by the society could contribute to individuals turning their backs on society. I plan to look for quantitative (numerical) data, to determine if reoffending rates could be reduced based solely on to positive family relationships.

This research on individuals who faced difficulties in integration could be inferred and shared on a broader base such as schools, institutions and any organizations that dedicate their projects to social work. Many correctional rehabilitation facilities would always be looking to further their research so that they could address the issue on improving the lives of ex-convicts. My conclusion will be to find out if strong family ties can attribute to low recidivism rates.

Reasons for strain relationships between family members

Some conventional behavior in broken family ties will be domestic violence, lack of role models, adverse childhood experiences and peers engaging in criminal activity (Paat et al. 2018). When it comes to growing up, these individual’s may not have the privilege of having a family member they could look up to. Parents engaging in criminal activities (Besemer et al., 2017) could also attribute to their poor upbringing, leaving them with little choice to surround themselves with peers who do not exert a positive influence. A study by Paat et al. (2018) indicated, “if any type of parental control was in place for these participants, it was frequently depicted as overly tax, too strict, irregular or ineffective” (p. 90). These youths will be left alone to deal with fear and social problems as they do not want to face their abusive family members. Without proper training to socialize, some of their solution to separate their ties from abusive or weakened family bonds would be to find new people to associate with. This increases their chances of mixing with peers who exhibit negative influences.


To link with my research question on ex-convict relationships with family members, I felt that the best way to review on ex-convicts would be conducting the experiment in Singapore. Experienced interviewers with fluent English should be brought in to allow smooth communication. Participants that included youth offenders and ex-convicts will be analyzed based on their status of their relationships between family members. In order to find the correct participants for the experiment, the method of purposive sampling should be used as advised by Lilienfeld’s, (2017) article. When it comes to the research of ex-convicts, participant’s selected should not initiate any sort of subtle racism (Lilienfeld’s, 2017) towards other participants. To prevent any forms of miscommunication, all participants should literate in the English language (Picco, Lau, Pang, Abdin, Vaingankar, Chong, & Subramaniam’s 2017).

Contents of the experiments must be kept confidential till the day itself to prevent any forms of biasness. Picco et al. (2017) also indicated Singapore ethnic groups as the “Chinese, Malay or Indian ethnicity”, meaning each race should be treated fairly and to ensure the smoothness of the test. Any form of social or strong political views should not let their ideas and beliefs get in the way of the experiment. Lilienfeld’s, (2017) article has emphasized that “researchers overlook the distinct possibility that their assumptions are guided by sociopolitical values that they have neglected to explicate”. This is to prevent any forms of inaccuracies in the experiment. Also, researchers leading the tasks should clarify any forms of doubts (Lilienfeld’s, 2017) to prevent any disagreements which could affect participants interest in the experiment

Data of recidivism rate and inmates released from drug rehabilitation center

From a government website, quantitative data collected has displayed lower recidivism rates in a five-year analysis as rates from 27.6% in 2012 has dropped to 23.7% in 2016 in Singapore. Data of incarceration rates also showed similarity to recidivism rates. Also taken in the country, from a scale of 100,000, there was a steep drop from 252.2 in 2012 to 230 inmates in 2016. Some of the reasons for the declining offending rates could be due to motivation and support given by their loved ones. Paat et al.’s (2018) supported that as “strong family ties and a stable work history decrease recidivism (acting as potential turning points”. That means individuals who have strong family support were likely to be successful in reintegration. These data are appropriate for the study as I aim to link with my research question on loved ones influence to stop advise loved ones to stop breaking the law.

Another five-year analysis of population of inmates have maintained at a range of 1400 from 2014 to 2018. Also, the numbers of individuals have sought treatment when up from 1360 in 2017 to 1461 inmates in 2018. Possibilities of them getting their basic needs of financial and emotional help (Paat et al. 2018) such as counselling and rehabilitation could be due to networking being done by from their family members. This data indicated the effort and support portrayed by individual’s loved ones in the process of reintegration. Hence, this variable on population of inmates supports my research question.

Lastly, data displayed a huge drop from 81% in job retention for 3 months to 63% in the subsequent 3 months in Singapore. This drop could be due to the factor of bad habits such as alcohol and abuse in maintain employment. Harding et al.’s (2014) article mentioned that’s “Downward transitions were often accompanied by addiction relapse or by crimes intended to generate economic resources”. This transition could be due to their lack of emotional stability and discipline when it comes to acknowledging their bad habits. In return, getting fired could contribute to lack of acceptance among family members. This could take a damaging turn to weak family ties. This data on job retention indicated the importance of financial stability and provided a better understanding of the difficulties ex-convicts faced in job stability.

Limitations & Implications

However, the variable on job retention shows us possibilities of them reoffending instead of how loved ones could influence them to stop offending. Community members such as social and healthcare workers could have been used as a variable to link to my research question instead. They are professionally trained and equipped to tackle problems faced by ex-convicts. Hence, the variable on the experiences of social and healthcare workers should have been considered.

This review focuses on how loved ones could influence ex-convicts to stop breaking the law. However, it was difficult to find statistical data that reflects on individual’s families that sought advice from various social or healthcare worker in the community. Writing about this would not be able to link up to my research question. This variable focused on how community could influence family’s decision to teach their convicted loved one.


In this review, the process of reintegration was a daunting task for these individuals. Firstly, without proper resources and motivation, they would struggle to get back on their feet (Wright et al, 2018). A strong foundation, such as positive family relationships (Paat et al. 2018), gives them a sense of need and belonging. Which will give them additional motivation and drive to stay clean. According to my research, I decided to focus more on how families could be known as their pillar of support. Without support of family members, these individuals could not benefit from the connections and networks (Paat et al. 2018) that they could provide. Although some individuals could certainly be knowledgeable and more independent to seek help, those with limited resources could face a bigger struggle. Hence, the focus on the importance of ex-convict’s families in providing privileges and welfare was more beneficial to my research question.

Secondly, the indication of how a someone’s character could be influenced due to external influences by family or peers. My research also focused on how individuals were being influenced negatively from young. In return, it gives a better understanding that some individuals may not be fortunate to have caring family members. An example of negligence in teaching would be the prevention of adopting antisocial norms and their exposure to harmful habits such as alcohol and substance abuse (Hamilton, 2014). A lack of training given for them to adopt pro-social behavior such as socializing (McNeill et al.’s 2012) could have contributed to their malleable behavior (Besemer et al. 2017). My review shows that though certain families could bring out the best in their child, some do bring out the worst instead.

However, instead of putting the blame on the family members, some of teachings could also be taught to parents of convicted individuals (Paat et al. 2018). Since my data was regarding convicts of Singapore, my research could suggest them to take part in corrective rehabilitation programs to properly educate (Wright. 2018) on responsibilities of a parent when it comes to facilitating their convicted child. Since it takes two hands to clap, both sides could take this opportunity to finally reconcile (Harding. 2014) for their mistakes. In addition, they gave more room to establish a positive relationship. A possible gap in my research would be to include more details of community supervision programs. This could in turn give us insights as to how not only loved ones could influence ex-convicts to stop breaking the law, but also on social and healthcare workers.


  1. Besemer, S., Farrington, D. P., & Bijleveld, Catrien C J H. (2017). Labeling and intergenerational transmission of crime: The interaction between criminal justice intervention and a convicted parent. PloS One, 12(3), e0172419-e0172419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172419
  2. Cressey, D. R. (1958). The nature and effectiveness of correctional techniques. Law and Contemporary Problems, 23(4), 754-771. doi:10.2307/1190397
  3. Hamilton, I. S. (2016). Employment of ex-prisoners with mental health problems: A review. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, 2(1), 40-53. doi:10.1108/JCRPP-05-2015-0016
  4. McNeill, F., Farrall, S., Lightowler, C., & Maruna, S. (2012). How and why people stop offending: discovering desistance. Insights evidence summary to support social services in Scotland.Ramakers, A., Apel, R., Nieuwbeerta, P., Dirkzwager, A., & Van Wilsem, J. (2014).Imprisonment length and post-prison employment prospects. Criminology, 52(3), 399-427. doi:10.1111/1745-9125.12042
  5. Paat, Y., Hope, T. L., Zamora, H., Lopez, L. C., & Salas, C. (2018). Inside the lives of hispanic origin ex-convicts: Pre- and post-incarceration. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 7(4), 83-99. doi:10.5204/ijcjsd.v7i4.931
  6. Wright, J. C., Hoffmann, H., & Coen, O. (2018). On the value integration of successfully reformed ex-convicts: A comparison with moral exemplars. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 58(6), 640-658. doi:10.1177/0022167815614955
  7. Dominguez Alvarez, R., & Loureiro, M. L. (2012). Stigma, Ex?convicts and labour markets. German Economic Review, 13(4), 470-486. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0475.2012.00580.x
  8. Graffam, J., Shinkfield, A. J., & Hardcastle, L. (2008). The perceived employability of ex-prisoners and offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52(6), 673-685. doi:10.1177/0306624X07307783
  9. Polaschek, D. L. L. (2016;2017;). Protective factors, correctional treatment and desistance. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 32, 64-70. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2016.12.005
  10. Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Microaggressions: Strong claims, inadequate evidence. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(1), 138-169. doi:10.1177/1745691616659391
  11. Picco, L., Lau, Y. W., Pang, S., Abdin, E., Vaingankar, J. A., Chong, S. A., & Subramaniam, M. (2017). Mediating effects of self-stigma on the relationship between perceived stigma and psychosocial outcomes among psychiatric outpatients: Findings from a cross-sectional survey in singapore. BMJ Open, 7(8), e018228-e018228. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018228

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How can loved ones influence ex-convicts to stop breaking the law?. (2019, Dec 09). Retrieved from

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