Peacebuilding: Quixote House and the reintegration into community of released offenders

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Soto Parra, Eduardo Enrique
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This research is an exploratory case study focused on Quixote House; an initiative developed by the non-profit sector to support offenders released into community after incarceration. The high rates of recidivism, characteristic of contemporary society, have sparked many scientific endeavours aimed at reducing what seems to be a failure of the current correctional and justice systems. Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) approaches, such as Restorative Justice, find common ground with critical theorists of modernity when addressing the negative impact of interventions without regard for places and relationships. Today, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) officers and inmates across the country know about Quixote House. About 50 men from Stony Mountain Institution, the federal penitentiary in Manitoba, all of whom committed serious crimes, have lived in this house. This thesis explores the experiences and perceptions of 11 of those men with regards to their reintegration and the role this house played in their success. In addition, the experiences of the two founders of the house, six CSC staff, and my own experience, as a resident of the house for the last six years, are included. The central objectives of this qualitative study are to analyze those experiences empirically, to provide a framework for better understanding Quixote House, and to propose possible improvements, from the perspective provided by PACS, with respect to theory and practice of offender reintegration into community. The findings show: (1) the lingering effects of institutionalization and stigma, (2) the importance of safety based on trusting relationships and ‘home’ on the road to reintegration, (3) the significance of community in the ways released offenders begin to meet their needs after incarceration, (4) the crucial role of the non-profit sector and volunteers in providing a safety net and (5) the open possibility of new kinship in which a non-judgmental approach to offenders can be experienced. All of these findings point to the positive impact Quixote House has had on released offenders in its 10 years of existence.
Recidivism – offenders’ reintegration – Home – Peacebuilding