Sociology, Department of


First Advisor

L. Janelle Dance

Second Advisor

Helen A. Moore

Date of this Version



Tietjen, Grant E. 2013. "Exploring Educational Pathways: Reintegration of the Formerly Incarcerated through the Academy." Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor L. Janelle Dance and Professor Helen A. Moore. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Grant Tietjen. Used by permission.


The overarching research issue that will be addressed in this study is: what are the pathways and experiences formerly incarcerated people face when trying to acquire and/or use higher educational credentials (for example, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees)? Another important question this study will examine is how ex-convicts successfully access academically focused higher education. There are many compelling reasons why this topic should be studied. While much research has been produced in regards to convicts and education, very little research has examined ex-inmates’ access to and utilization of academia. This study defines academia as attainment of graduate degrees or professional credentials with a focus on the expectations of working within academia, either in a teaching or research capacity. A common theme presented by participants in this study was: academia as a door to opportunity that had been left open to the formerly incarcerated. Another driving concept presented in the qualitative responses collected in this study is that access to social capital creates access to academic human capital. While research supports that formerly incarcerated people tend to possess and have access to very little human capital due to structural issues of social inequality, this research presents a societal frame in which this group successfully gains human capital. Focusing on the interaction of social and human capital within this study provides valuable insight into the scholarship of how such concepts can provide educational benefit the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

Advisors: L. Janelle Dance and Helen A. Moore

Included in

Criminology Commons