First Advisor

Lee Shaker

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Science and University Honors


Social Science


Prisoners -- Deinstitutionalization -- United States, Mass media -- Political aspects -- United States, Mass media and public opinion, Ex-convicts -- Services for -- Public opinion, Ex-convicts -- Services for -- Government policy, Criminals -- Rehabilitation -- United States -- Finance, Recidivism -- United States -- Prevention -- Finance




The US prison system has multiplied by four since 1980; each year about 730,000 people enter state and federal prisons and 700,000 people exit. As a result of this expansion, there is a massive increase of formerly incarcerated people reentering local communities every year. Budget cuts in prison programs and in local government’s social services are causing these individuals to be less educated and less prepared for reintegration; communities are also ill prepared to absorb them. The Second Chance Act was signed into law by President Bush on April 9, 2008. It authorized a pool of about $393m (renewed in 2009 and 2013) to government agencies and nonprofit community organizations to provide services to the formerly incarcerated following their release from prison or jail. How the media presents reentry and the Second Chance Act and how that depiction affects public perception of the issue requires further examination. Newspaper articles in the LexisNexis Academic database are the basis for this content analysis of print news media coverage of the Second Chance Act. Media framing is important to examine as public attitudes are influenced by newspaper articles, and those attitudes influence government policy.


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An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in University Honors and Social Science and Black Studies.

Persistent Identifier