Formerly incarcerated individuals face numerous hardships during reentry that may increase their risk for future reincarceration. Documenting the expectations and experiences individuals have for reentry may shed new light on the United States’ high reincarceration rate and inform interventions. Using data from the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting, and Partnering (MFS-IP), this study describes incarcerated fathers’ expectations for reentry and examines whether unmet expectations increase risk for short-term reincarceration. The analytic sample consisted of 346 Black and White fathers who provided data on expectations for support, financial stability, and family relationships during incarceration and their experiences in each domain after release. Descriptive analyses revealed variability in terms of whether fathers expect to have their needs met upon reentry and whether needs are actually met. Logistic regressions that were stratified by race and included controls for theoretically relevant variables suggested that expectations did not predict reincarceration. Moreover, among White fathers, unmet expectations were inversely associated with risk for short-term reincarceration. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future theory, research, and practice.

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