Ex-offender reintegration into the community is widely resisted by many members of society. Unfortunately, these negative responses directed towards ex-offenders make the reintegration process even more difficult. This study examines the impact of a humanization/dehumanization manipulation on attitudes towards ex-offender reintegration. Participants were randomly assigned to a humanizing or dehumanizing condition, where they read a description of an ex-offender and were asked questions about this ex-offender. In the dehumanizing condition, the description consisted of the crime committed and what resulted in the individual being incarcerated. The humanizing condition included situational factors about the crime and personal details about the ex-offender, as this has been found to make a person appear more human. The primary hypotheses were that participants in the humanizing condition would be more open to living near the ex-offender, as indicted through a survey following the descriptions and that females would be less open to living near the ex-offenders described to them when compared to males. A second survey that followed the descriptions included questions on the likelihood the ex-offender would succeed once released. The first hypothesis was fully supported, but no difference was found between males and females. The findings indicate that humanization has a large impact on how ex-offenders are viewed and potentially treated.

Keywords: ex-offender, reintegration, dehumanization, humanization


Gillund, Gary



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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