The Mark of an Ex-Prisoner: Perceived Discrimination and Self-Stigma of Young Men after Prison in Hong Kong

Wing Hong Chui, Kevin Kwok Yin Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The stigma of being an ex-prisoner can lead to self-stigmatizing beliefs and hinder reintegration. For young ex-prisoners, this is particularly challenging as they need not only to transition from prison to society but from adolescence to adulthood. This study explores the experiences of discrimination and self-stigma of 16 young men recently released from Hong Kong prisons. Drawing on qualitative in-depth interviews, it reveals that participants perceived themselves as facing discrimination, mainly from prospective employers. Self-stigma was more salient with regard to lower self-worth and shame and embarrassment. Most adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" strategy in disclosing their identity as ex-prisoners. As very little research has been conducted on the experiences of returning offenders in Hong Kong, this study highlights the challenges of reentry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-684
Number of pages14
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Cite this