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"'I Had Nowhere to Go': Disenfranchised Grief and Support Groups for Families of Incarcerated Individuals" (by Allegra Pocinki): Review 2

Published onJul 14, 2023
"'I Had Nowhere to Go': Disenfranchised Grief and Support Groups for Families of Incarcerated Individuals" (by Allegra Pocinki): Review 2

Vote: Publish pending major changes.

This manuscript addresses a significant gap in the existing literature on the consequences of incarceration for family members and the related support groups to address these concerns. The paper is well-written. I do have some suggestions for revisions before the manuscript is publishable.

General comments:

  1. Avoid first-person throughout (e.g., “I” and “my respondents”)

  2. I am unsure what citation method is used here as it is not APA. Do the references not require DOI numbers?

  3. The paper uses both “U.S.” and “United States” and would benefit from consistency.

  4. There seems to be inconsistency in the use of labels including “black” and “African American” – these are different and should be consistent throughout, assuming Yvonne did not describe herself as “African American” based on my understanding of this study’s methods.


  1. The author describes most prior research as focusing on wives and children. I would argue that female partners, regardless of marriage, are included in this research.

Incarceration and Families.

  1. The end of the first sentence is redundant: “incarceration” and “incarcerated”

  2. In the last paragraph of this sub-section – the argument is that support groups mitigate collateral consequences of mass incarceration – the way this is written seems to focus on those incarcerated rather than the family members seeking support.

Data and Methods

  1. Although I have no concerns with the method of identifying the organizations, there needs to be more transparency in detailing the process. For instance, what search terms were used? Are there only 25 support groups available nationally (12 failed to respond and 13 agreed = 15), or are there more, and the authors only selected the first 25? If so, why not attempt to contact the next 13 that come up in the search for 25?

  2. I see mention of the region, but was there any attempt to systematically select groups representative of geographical areas throughout the country?

  3. Was the interview structured or semi-structured?

  4. Additional information is needed to describe the types of questions included in this study.

  5. Although the range of the interview lengths is listed, on average, how long were the interviews?

  6. Were interviews recorded? This needs to be mentioned.

  7. Coding was completed alone?


  1. Although this is a qualitative study, it would be beneficial to use some descriptive language for the reader to understand better the prevalence of the findings related to the themes presented here. For instance, how many respondents described motivation one rather than motivation two in the discussion of resilience? How many of these support groups adhered to the “open-ended” method versus the pre-selected topics for discussion?

  2. I’m unsure what POIC is (p. 12)


  1. In the present form, the discussion extends the findings section. A discussion should situate the findings in the big picture of existing literature.


  1. Although there is mention of the lack of generalizability of the sample, limitations are not explicitly discussed here. Another obvious limitation is inter-rater reliability, especially as “an outsider to this particular topic”

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