The findings from the interview with the participant have been presented under three different headings: the experiences of reintegration, various factors and their effect on reintegration and the challenges of reintegration. The findings have been organised in this way in order to achieve the aims and objectives of this study.
In the interview with Thabo it was clear that throughout his path of reintegration he encountered three main experiences. The process of reintegration is not an easy one. In fact, when I asked Thabo what his personal definition of reintegration was, he spoke of the community being “relieved” (line 546) when someone like him was removed from the community. He likened reintegration to the pruning of a tree (line 559) which shows the slow, painful process of being changed in order to be reaccepted into society. It is clear that Thabo’s pathway to reintegration has been filled with “pruning” experiences. The three main experiences of reintegration experienced by Thabo are: increased faith, support and judgement.
Throughout the interview Thabo made reference to God. He speaks of God with fondness and familiarity and factors God into what seems like every aspect of his life, making statements like “praise God” (line 177). From what was said in the interview it seems that Thabo came to the faith during his time in incarceration. Thabo refers to himself as a “born-again Christian” (line 353). Thabo attributes the change in him to God and even speaks about how others have noticed this change (line 452 – 455). It is evident that faith is something that has guided him through his reintegration. Thabo displayed very little emotion and movement throughout the interview, however he did smile serenely when making mention of God’s impact in his reintegration. This shows Thabo’s joy and evident reliance on God. He says God is his “pillar” (line 385) and that God “carried him through the journey” of reintegration. From the use of the word journey we see that Thabo views reintegration as a long process that requires time and effort. The image created by the word “carried” shows how Thabo has experienced this constant care and faith in a supernatural being sustaining him. Thabo’s experience of increased faith throughout his reintegration is similar to the findings found in Solomon, Gauvis & Waul’s (2001) study where they found that the participants viewed faith as a way of adding “meaning” to their live and “rebuilding” their lives. Thabo’s experiences are however contrary to McRoberts’s (2002) commentary. McRoberts stated that religion was a means of “surviving” incarceration and insinuated that faith was not helpful once the ex-offender was back in the community. While it is clear that Thabo’s faith was present during his incarceration it is clear that his faith has continued to sustain him through the reintegrative process.
Braithwaite’s (1989) study spoke of the importance of society in the reintegration of ex-offenders. From the...