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An Ethnography of Prisoners' Transitions

Kongsvinger prison. Photo: private.

About the project

An Ethnography of Prisoners' Transitions (EPTrans) is a study of the reentry process following a prison sentence.

The aim is to provide knowledge about the transition from prison to freedom from the perspective of two groups: Prisoners released from Romanian prisons, and Romanian citizens released from Norwegian prisons. The project will explore to which extent cultural and social surroundings, structures and institutions affect understandings and experiences of reintegration. The study will also shed light on different aspects of reentry processes in general.

EPTrans aims at developing an advanced understanding of the release and re-entry process from the subjective perspective of prisoners themselves. The processes, interactions, meanings and challenges/conflicts involved in re-entry will be examined from Roma and non-Roma prisoner’s point of view.

Research questions

The main research question is How do released inmates experience, understand and come to terms with the re-entry process?


  • The following more specific research questions will be addressed as part of the project:
  • How is the release process understood by inmates pre and post release?
  • What re-entry strategies (coping strategies that participants employ to succeed) are used? How are they organized pre and post release?
  • What are the expectations pre-release and to what extent are they confirmed?
  • What actors (people and institutions) are involved in the re-entry journey and what role do they play?
  • What are the obstacles identified by participants?
  • What are the strategies they employ to deal with these obstacles?
  • What are the resources the inmates use in the re-entry process?
  • How does hope and agency change/progress through the re-entry process?


The EPTrans research project is funded by the Norwegian EEA Grant (EØS-midler) under the contract no. 9SEE/30.06.2014.

Published Sep. 1, 2015 9:53 AM - Last modified Sep. 1, 2015 9:57 AM