Critical Criminology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 295–309 | Cite as

Defining Post-release ‘Success’: Using Assemblage and Phenomenography to Reveal Difference and Complexity in Post-prison Conceptions

  • Diana F. JohnsEmail author


The complexity of men’s experience of prison release is frequently reduced to singular narratives about reoffending risks or reintegration challenges. This paper seeks to enlarge this conventional view by highlighting the heterogeneous ways in which prison release may be experienced and understood. Analysis of men’s experience of release from prison in Victoria, Australia, shows how the concept of assemblage and a phenomenographic methodology can work together to capture and convey this heterogeneity. By assembling the ways ex-prisoners understand and experience release together with the conceptions of post-release support workers this approach highlights conflict and convergence between different ways of experiencing the post-release terrain, specifically around conflicting notions of post-release ‘success’. The innovative combination of assemblage and phenomenography thus contributes a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the challenges of release from prison and of supporting ex-prisoners’ so-called ‘reintegration’.


Hard Thing Prison Life Remote Indigenous Community Prisoner Reentry Prison Release 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Global, Urban and Social StudiesRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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