Dum, Christopher P., Socia, Kelly M., George, Bengt and Neiderman, Halle M. (2021). “The Effect of Reading Prisoner Poetry on Stigma and Public Attitudes: Results from a Multigroup Survey Experiment.” The Prison Journal.

Dum, Christopher P., Socia, Kelly M., George, Bengt and Neiderman, Halle M. (2021). “The Effect of Reading Prisoner Poetry on Stigma and Public Attitudes: Results from a Multigroup Survey Experiment.” The Prison Journal.

Author Affiliations: Kent State University (Dum, George), University of
Massachusetts-Lowell (Socia), American University of Beirut (Neiderman)
Artforms: Poetry, writing
Program: ID-13 Prison Literacy Project
Program (Study) Description: Study includes poetry written by participants in ID-13 Prison Literacy Project operating in several prisons in northeast Ohio.
Program (Study) Location: National/northeast Ohio
Study Published: 2021
Participant Type: Non-incarcerated U.S. adults 18 years and older
Sample Size: 1800 survey respondents, 450 from each of four different racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic
Data Type: Survey responses
Evaluation Focus: How engagement with written information about or by currently incarcerated people influences public opinion regarding stigmatization and reentry support. Respondents were exposed to one of five sources of written information: A CBS news story, a Huffington Post Story, a Research Brief, a set of two poems about incarceration written by a member of a prison writing group and a set of two “humanizing” poems written by a participant in a prison writing group.

Summary of Impact: The study yielded three main findings: 1. a negative correlation between stigma and reentry support; 2. a significant reduction in stigmatization associated with exposure to humanizing poems compared with other information sources; 3. Non-significant increased support for reentry among respondents exposed to any written information except the CBS News Story.

KEYWORDS: attitudes, poetry, public opinion, reentry, stigma, writing

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