Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban Affairs


Urban and Public Affairs

First Advisor

Maria Martinez-Cosio


The 1990's were plagued with crime and high recidivism rates, and the State of Texas responded by embarking upon the largest expansion of a criminal justice system in its history. Having served their sentences, record numbers of offenders who were sent to prison in the 1990's are now flooding the streets. At the time of their release, some of these offenders will have unmet needs, such as a lack of food, housing, and clothing. Others may need help enrolling in school or finding a job. Whatever their needs, a host of nonprofit organizations stand ready to assist ex-offenders in their transition from prison to the communities they will rejoin.This is a study of the needs of ex-offenders being released into Tarrant County, Texas, and of the programs and services provided by nonprofit organizations intended to assist offenders in meeting those needs. Mixed methods were employed in the research: Quantitative data was obtained through the use of questionnaires given to offenders attending their regularly-scheduled parole meetings, and qualitative information was obtained through one-on-one interviews with representatives of local nonprofit organizations who offer assistance to ex-offenders. An analysis of the data reveals the existence of several nonprofit organizations with programs ranging in size from one that is managed by a single volunteer, to another that employs 45 paid staff with hundreds more volunteers to assist them. There are programs and services offered to help every type of offender, from the drug addict who committed property theft to support his or her habit, to the violent sex-offender. There are programs to assist offenders with the most pressing needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Other programs offer assistance with maintenance issues, such as substance-abuse treatment, sex-offender counseling, and job preparation and placement. The cumulative effect of the nonprofit organizations researched for this paper provide opportunities to enable those who have served time in prison--whether it was one year or 20--to become healthy, responsible, and law-abiding members of the communities to which they return.


Public Affairs | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington