Chapter three describes how lifers for this study were recruited and the context in which the life history interviews took place. It also touches on the characteristics of the interviewees, and the geographical and cultural background that shaped their lives. This includes the place of incarceration (in particular Walpole State Prison and Bridgewater State Hospital), the time of incarceration and the socio-cultural context of their lives at the time of their crimes. They are a heterogeneous, though collective, group of individuals, whose histories leading up to the homicide were remarkably similar. Since virtually all interviewed lifers were on parole, this chapter also devotes attention to the nature of parole, parole supervision and the influence of the Willie Horton and Dominic Cinelli cases.
Keywords: recruitment, methodology, interviews, life history, Walpole State Prison, Bridgewater State Hospital, Willie Horton, Dominic Cinelli, parole