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"'I Had Nowhere to Go': Disenfranchised Grief and Support Groups for Families of Incarcerated Individuals" (by Allegra Pocinki): Review 1

Published onJul 14, 2023
"'I Had Nowhere to Go': Disenfranchised Grief and Support Groups for Families of Incarcerated Individuals" (by Allegra Pocinki): Review 1

Vote: Publish pending minor changes.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this article. The author addresses an important area: the availability and utility of support groups for families of incarcerated individuals. More specifically, the author conducted 13 virtual interviews with founders and/or leaders of support groups for families of incarcerated individuals. All participants had also experienced familial incarceration themselves. The data presented are timely (especially given the prolonged halts in family visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic). They will help to expand what is known about the collateral consequences of incarceration for families. I offer several feedback points for the author to consider in revising their manuscript. These comments are organized by section below; I hope the author finds this review helpful.


The background/literature is generally well-written. They do a nice job of engaging literature across multiple disciplines. However, there are a couple of areas where I encourage the author to expand their background section.

First, an article by Novisky et al. (2022) applies the disenfranchised grief framework to prison settings that should be incorporated. This is important, as the author emphasizes that social workers have largely applied the framework and has not received much attention from sociologists:

I also recommend citing the following article by Boppre et al. (2022) to help bolster some of the research referenced from Comfort:

Data and Methods

Regarding the initial Google search to identify organizations, please provide some examples (or, ideally, a full list) of used search terms.

The author states they “aimed to achieve information power rather than saturation.” However, in the methods section, the author states they “attempted to achieve theoretical saturation in the data.” The author needs to clarify their approach a bit. For example, please explain how (and at what point during your interviews) you became confident that you had achieved information power. How did this translate to the analysis, and how did saturation play a role (if any)?

Regarding the data analysis process, please provide examples of how the coding process progressed. For example, what examples of open codes were developed versus the later broad categories? How did these progress into the final two thematic areas addressed in the findings? The author needs to clearly lay out the process so that readers can see how the analysis occurred.

Please provide some additional information about the organizations you approached and worked with. Were these social media groups? Formalized non-profit organizations? About how many members did each organization serve? It would be helpful for the reader to have more clarity about the groups represented in the sample.

The author explains that the interviews lasted between 30 and 120 minutes. Given this range, it would also be helpful to know the mean interview length.


Finally, while the author’s findings are compelling, the implications section is significantly underdeveloped as currently written. I encourage the author to make some careful and thoughtful connections to other work based on their findings and to provide specific ideas for policies that are warranted based on their findings.

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