Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Jennifer Ma

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© 2023 Isabel Dhillon


With the highest incarceration and recidivism rates, the United States has a large portion of prisoners and ex-prisoners in its society. This subset of the population struggles with reentry, especially with finding stable housing and employment. These struggles are exacerbated by the perceptions of the general public, sourced from stereotypes and stigma that can lead to discrimination. This study examined the differences in attitude changes towards prisoners engendered by using a narrative. This was done by using an ex-convict’s testimonial account of how the struggles involved in the incarceration process and the lack of support within the system led to recidivism (experimental condition), versus an emotionless version of the same tale (control condition). Univariate ANCOVAs with covariates including gender, race, education, socio-economic status, and age, as well as being previously victim to a crime and having a family member incarcerated, revealed no significant impact of condition on attitudes towards prisoners nor fear of crime. A logistic regression on whether participants believed prisoners are treated fairly revealed significant impacts of age, race and having a family member incarcerated. This research suggests that attitudes towards prisoners are not easily influenced and requires further research to fully grasp how attitudes towards prisoners may be improved.