Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Rebecca L. Wolf, J.D., MPH, OTR/L


The evolution of incarceration, or confinement, began in the 18th century with the Quakers, known as the Pennsylvania system, an isolation and penitence ideology (Penner, 1978). Later, the Auburn system was implemented in the 19th century, which embraced an approach of mental isolation (Penner, 1978). Today, citizens entrust the criminal justice system with the power to protect communities from individuals who commit crimes (Muñoz, Moreton, & Sitterly, 2016). Therefore, the United States criminal justice system diversified the supervision of lawbreakers based upon the severity of their crimes, such as jail, prison, probation, and parole. This has led to decades of mass incarceration and disproportionately affected minority populations (Roettger & Dennison, 2018). The era of prison reform is on the horizon, and the focus has shifted to reentry programs and the reduction of recidivism, the rate of return to prison post-release. The aim of this project is to (a) identify the gaps in occupational therapy services in corrections, (b) develop a coping skills program, (c) develop a leisure education program, (d) identify themes associated with such programs, and (e) demonstrate the value of occupational therapy in corrections and reentry.