Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Dr. Denise Reiling

Second Advisor

Prof. Troy Adams


Homelessness and incarceration have been recognized as national social problems that affect millions every year. Currently, about one-third of homeless men have also been incarcerated. The existence the population of doubly marginalized homeless felons indicates a very serious deficit within the status quo. This study utilizes a grassroots qualitative approach to further understanding aspects of this social problem. A snowball sample was conducted in a medium sized city in a Great Lakes state homeless shelter. Research was collected through in-depth qualitative interviews with the recently incarcerated homeless men about their opinions and experiences of rehabilitation programs in prison. This study provides a venue for the voices and opinions of the recently incarcerated homeless men regarding the relationship between rehabilitation during their incarceration and their current conditions of homelessness. The connection between homelessness and incarceration became quite clear as the experiences and policies of the criminal justice system were explained throughout the interviews. The interviews revealed that the men’s reality of prison is that it is a business, a warehouse, proliferates crime and has no rehabilitation. In one phrase, the men speak of the “prison industrial complex”.