Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Denise Donnelly - Chair

Second Advisor

Ralph LaRossa

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Beck


Increasingly individuals are coming into contact with the criminal justice system. For millions of Americans this contact is mediated by the victimization or offense of a loved one. This study focused on exploring what the family members of victims and offenders identify as their needs and concerns in relation to the criminal justice system, assessing if the system is effective in addressing these needs and concerns, and understanding how these families' lives are shaped by interaction with the system. Grounded theory method was used to analyze the narratives posted on two on-line message boards, one for victims' families and one for offenders' families. The results from this study suggest that both groups express the same frustrations and concerns about the criminal justice system, and that both groups develop similar coping strategies to assist them in negotiating the system after initial incarceration or victimization.


Included in

Sociology Commons