The Monster in Our Midst: Society’s Perspectives of Convicted Felons

Jose Perez, Salve Regina University

Abstract

Convicted felons are dubbed "monsters”, and according to society, they lack the qualifications for being considered human. This relates to the prevalent issue of mass incarceration, the stigmatization of convicted offenders, and the labels that society bestows upon them. Similarly, society excludes, and caricatures convicted felons, assuming they will never change or improve their life. This study explored society's perception of convicted felons as "monsters" which can be compared to Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel to exemplify society's error. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the creature's identification as a monster is linked to isolation, misperception, and societal rejection, and this plays a major role in the development of the creature’s identity as a monster. This study finds that policymakers across the United States have proposed several strategies to reintegrate ex-felons into their local communities, however, these policies have resulted in mixed effects. Besides, it is easier said than done to increase community involvement and supporting the reintegration of ex-felons. Yet, this study contends that similar to Frankenstein, ex-felons recidivate as a result of the social marginalization they face after being released from jail. Thus, ex-felons’ criminal behavior is strongly intertwined with social rejection, which, according to society, is only related to their earlier misdeeds and not their outward appearances. As a result, as long as society continues to criticize ex-felons by labeling them as monsters, any initiatives put in place will not improve recidivism rates, because ex-felons will continue to commit crimes as a result of the rejection they experience in society. In conclusion, this shows that the reality of the problem is at the community level and that policymakers should focus their attention on educating the community on the importance of forgiving ex-felons, accepting them back into society, and not judging or labeling them based on their previous criminal activities, for successful reintegration.

Subject Area

Social work|Social research|Criminology|Law

Recommended Citation

Perez, Jose, "The Monster in Our Midst: Society’s Perspectives of Convicted Felons" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI28716327.
https://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI28716327

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