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Navigating Power in Cross-Racial Dyads After Incarceration

Updated: Feb 16


Coach and client working at gym

The following blog features an exerpt from our Employee and Community Member Emily Crain's Doctor of Psychology Dissertation. We strongly encourage you to read the whole study here and view the adjoining slide deck here to fully understand the nuance and importance of her findings.


Summary & Conclusion


The current study aimed to gain a better understanding of the subjective experiences of Black and Latino men post-incarceration. Participants were recruited from a local non-profit organization that uses a community-based apprentice model to assist formerly incarcerated young adults in obtaining the necessary certifications to become personal trainers. The study utilized directed content analysis to qualitatively explore (1) the impact of cross-racial relationships on Black and Latino trainers, the trainers' experiences working in a close relationship with White individuals and how their relative power varies, the trainers' subjective experiences of microaggressions, and (4) the dominant themes in the microaggressions these men experience in the workplace and community. Findings suggest that despite having “paid their debt to society,” formerly incarcerated men of color continue to be marginalized after incarceration. While the participants continued to face discrimination, they also experienced respect and new opportunities, much of which they attributed to their newfound skills and positions of authority. The study highlights the intersection of microaggression and re-entry literature and the challenges faced by men of color returning to their communities after incarceration. The mass incarceration of men of color perpetuates itself, and policies and programs to interrupt this cycle are needed. This study emphasizes the benefits of environments in which formerly incarcerated individuals can develop agency and mastery, in order to develop the resilience to fight criminogenic forces and counter the toll of the hostility they face daily.




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