Intimate Partner Violence Experiences During Men’s Reentry from Prison

08/19/2016

This descriptive brief presents findings on intimate partner violence experiences during men’s reentry from prison from the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP).  Using data from 666 reentering men and their partners, the analysis examines IPV prevalence by gender, assesses congruence in IPV reports within couples (or the extent to which survey responses from both members of the couple agreed), and compares IPV prevalence rates by relationship status and by how much time had passed since the male partner’s release.  We find that the reentering men and their partners in this study experienced physical partner violence at rates approximately 5-6 times higher than the general population. Even so, study participants were less likely to experience IPV after reentry than before incarceration. Both men and women experienced physical violence and controlling behavior victimization and couple members generally agreed about whether there was any physical violence in their relationship, though reports of men’s frequent or severe abuse of women often differed within couples.  These findings suggest that addressing IPV is crucial to supporting the reentry process and that federal family-strengthening programs need strategies for safely and appropriately serving participants who experience IPV.  Future research should investigate the observed gender differences in reported IPV experiences and further explore the variation in couples’ IPV experiences after release from prison.

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