American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 641–667 | Cite as

A Life of Grief: an Exploration of Disenfranchised Grief in Sex Offender Significant Others

  • Danielle J. S. BaileyEmail author


In criminal justice, researchers have identified disenfranchised grief, or the denial of empathy and social support during the grieving process, in family members who have lost relatives through imprisonment and execution. Although both of these situations involve the physical removal of the offender from the family members’ lives, non-physical losses may also prompt the grieving process. One of these non-physical losses is a psychosocial loss, in which the person the family members knew is now gone. Given the public stigma of the label “sex offender” and the collateral consequences that occur as a result of that label, it is possible that sex offender significant others experience a psychosocial loss. The current research is an exploratory study that used qualitative interviews with 29 spouses and significant others of convicted sex offenders to explore if and how disenfranchised grief impacts sex offender partners. Findings support both the existence of and the detrimental impact of disenfranchised grief on sex offender partners.


Sex offenders Collateral consequences Disenfranchised grief Criminal justice policy 


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas at Tyler College of Arts and SciencesTylerUSA

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