African American Recidivism Rates
Essay title: African American Recidivism Rates
A Research Proposal
African American Recidivism Rates
By: Ricardo Santacruz
As a result of tough on crime policies and the subsequent war on drugs, the number of individuals involved with criminal justice system continues to rise at alarming rates. Since 1980, the incarceration rate has tripled. 1 in 20 Americans will spend time in prison during their lifespan. The numbers speak for themselves. Currently there are an estimated 2 million people in U.S. federal and state prisons. Given the unprecedented rise of individuals now involved with the American criminal justice system and the soaring rates or recidivism, there is a great need for systemic changes to address the issues confronting the ex-offender populations in this country.
TOPIC: “WHY IS THERE SUCH A HIGH RATE OF RECIDIVISM AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS?
Recidivism is the term used to describe ex-offenders who return to prison as a result of continued criminal behavior. Within the African American community, the recidivism rate is astronomical. There are several motivating factors leading to recidivism within the African American community and they are as follows:
• Drug addiction
• Lack of education
• Lack of employment
• Impoverished housing
Most often when African American ex-offenders return to the community, they return to the same negative environment that they left, which is usually plagued by drug addiction, criminal activity and economic depression. Today in corrections, there is a tremendous amount of focus on the recidivism rate among African Americans. In the Cook County Adult Probation Department alone, more than half of the ex-offenders are African American. A national dialogue has emerged that calls for a major re-examination of how correctional systems prepare offenders to return to society as productive, crime-free citizens.
The study of recidivism is important, because the findings could prove useful in the establishment and/or implementation of community-based programs to assist ex-offenders with a successful transition back into society. There are far too many African Americans offenders re-entering society ill-equipped, ill-prepared and with only limited
According to statistics from the Cook County Adult Probation Department as recent as September 1, 2004, there are a total of 27,398 ex-offenders on probation. Of that total, 64.45% are African Americans, 20.97% are Caucasian, and 13.58% are Hispanic. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002) predicts that 1 in 20 Americans will spend time in prison during their lifespan. The rates are substantially greater for ethnic minorities than Caucasian. An estimated 28% of African American and 16% of Hispanic males will serve time in prison in their lifetime, compared to 4.4% of Caucasian.
Crime is often related to a myriad of personal experience issues that leave a human being with a sense of disparity. Personal variables such as level of education lack of employment opportunities and access to affordable and adequate housing play major roles in resulting criminal behavior. After incarceration, individuals are often confronted with the same variables that resulted in their involvement with criminal activities in the first place, which is indicated by the almost 50% recidivism rate in Illinois (Bureau of Justice Statistics 2002).
In this research I plan to do a thorough and organized study in this area. I feel that this issue is far greater than it appear to be. It is one that affects the hearts, the souls, and the future of everyone who comes in contact with an individual that suffers from recidivism.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
Approximately 27,000 individuals are scheduled for release this year from Illinois state prisons with a projected recidivism rate of almost 50%. The overwhelming majority (20,000 or more) will be returning to the Chicago land area. It has been noted that access to living wage employment is one of the key factors in reducing recidivism among ex-offenders. Therefore, it is critical to assist these individuals in finding employment as soon as possible upon their release from prison.
Why is there