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The research study provides a phenomenological approach to investigate individual’s experiences of their journey through homelessness and examining it within the concept of homeless identity. The study was concerned with exploring and acquiring a rich description on what is homeless offenders/prisoner’s perception of their transition from custody to the community and the pathways they endure. The study examined pathways into, through and out of homelessness through available literature and by conducting five interviews with individuals who are currently or have a history of homelessness and offending. Similarly the researcher sought to highlight and develop issues that drew individuals back into homeless and reoffending, or in contrast pathways that draw people away from homelessness and reoffending. Research labeled homeless people as one of the most marginalized groups in society (Wills 2004) as the study plans to examine this along with barriers and difficulties they encountered when integrating back into mainstream society. The researcher used qualitative research methods and conducted semi structured interviews. The researcher’s aim was to establish as closely as possible the schemas or cognitions held by participants and carefully analyze the narratives provided, where further thematic analysis led to explication of main themes, each with a number of sub themes.
The study concludes by discussing relevant findings in which crime and addiction prevailed as inter connected relationship immersed within the homeless community. The researcher identified common barrier experience by homeless offenders in personal and social construct. Identity emerged as a common pattern for individuals residing in homelessness long-term and affected their capability of exiting. Coping mechanism employed by participant’s involved adopting to extraordinary situations and often used as a source of survival. However drug use became a common self medicating and evidently leading to offending behavior. These high risk solutions consequently resulted in more damaging behavior and subsequently incarceration.
Rowlands, Louise: Looking through the eyes of a homeless prisoner’, Exploring homeless offender’s perspectives on their transition from custody to community. Dublin, DIT, September 2011.