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After Life ImprisonmentReentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration$
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Marieke Liem

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479806928

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479806928.001.0001

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A Productive, Law-Abiding Citizen

A Productive, Law-Abiding Citizen

(p.97) 6 A Productive, Law-Abiding Citizen
After Life Imprisonment

Marieke Liem

NYU Press

This chapter takes a closer look at the notion of prison as a turning point. It demonstrates that the majority of interviewees described having experienced a ‘personal change’, an ‘epiphany’ or a ‘spiritual awakening’. It further details the vehicles for such a cognitive shift. Once these lifers made the decision to move away from their old lives, they described consciously distancing themselves from delinquent peers and surrounding themselves with a supportive and positive social network. This chapter goes deeper into the process underlying this change, and the associated redemption narrative. It shows that this narrative is not necessarily fake, in the sense that interviewees pretend to be someone they are not, but rather a reflection of how they wish to present themselves.

Keywords:   turning point, epiphany, cognitive shift, spiritual awakening, redemption script, personal change, narrative, cognitive transformation

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