Dorian Jester, M.S.W.


Education: Bachelor of Science in social work (May 2017)

Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas

McNair Project: A Fallen Voice: Family Narratives of those under Correctional Control (2016)

Mentor: Don Kurtz, Ph.D.

This paper presents Narrative Criminology, an ideology, which posits that stories are more than a means of communication; they help us mold our identities, make sense of the world, and assemble others to action. This research explores the personal narratives of offenders under community correctional control. My main goal in this research is to answer the following question: how do those under correctional control use stories or narratives to explain their unique experiences? Interviews were conducted from the Manhattan, Kansas, community to assess participants' stories related to criminal behavior, correctional intervention, community stigma, and family stories around our justice practices. Participants were given full informed consent and the questions were geared towards their life situation and not about specifics of criminal behavior. The final analysis of data includes a review of all transcribed interviews, coding for specific narratives or themes that developed from participant responses. The final analysis included two men and two women on probation for various drug-related crimes. After interviewing my participants, I analyzed each narrative. The following themes emerged from transcribed interviews: loneliness, vulnerability and self-image, signals as doubt, and complexity and change. Oftentimes these narratives seem contradictory, and sometimes they are, but this fits with literature on the nature of self-narration.