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Prisoner re-entry programs: Age variation in attitudes and experiences among street life oriented Black men
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Prisoner re-entry programs: Age variation in attitudes and experiences among street life oriented Black men


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A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Wilmington Street PAR project, a larger street ethnographic study organized examine physical violence in Wilmington, DE. This analysis specifically …

A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Wilmington Street PAR project, a larger street ethnographic study organized examine physical violence in Wilmington, DE. This analysis specifically explored attitudes and experiences with prison reentry among male participants who were street identified and/or formerly of the criminal justice system across age.

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  • 1. Demographic Profile National   31% of Black men are on probation (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011);  1 in every 15 Black men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men (Kerby, 2012);  67.5% of inmates were rearrested at least once within the first three years of release (Atkin & Armstrong, 2013).
  • 2. Demographic Profile Local   8 in 10 Delaware inmates sentenced to more than a year in prison are rearrested for a serious offense within three years of their release (Barrish, 2013);  71% of released prisoners are convicted of a serious crime within three years of release, and 68% return to prison for at least one day (Barrish, 2013);  Joblessness is as high as 50% among Black men in their twenties (Hope Commission, 2011);  Each year over 1,200 Black ex-offenders are released from Delaware prisons, into Wilmington (Hope Commission, 2011);.
  • 3. What is Participatory Action Research (PAR)?  (I.) Participatory Action Research (PAR) projects includes on the research team, members of the population under study. Once such members are identified, they then are offered the opportunity to participate in all phases of the research project (e. g. theoretical framing, literature review, analysis, publication, presentation, monetary compensation, etc.); & (II.) PAR projects require an social justice based response to be organized in response to the data collected by the study. Research + Social Activism = PAR Payne, 2011
  • 4. RESEARCH QUESTION  To what extent does age influence attitudes and experiences toward reentry programs in Wilmington among street identified African American men?
  • 5. Literature Review   Prisoner Re-entry: Programs and Services (Seiter & Kadela, 2003; Thompkins, 2010)  Barriers in Prisoner Re-entry: Recidivism and Incarceration (Marbley & Ferguson, 2005; Raphael, 2011)  Employers Attitudes towards Ex-offenders and Employment (Smith & Hattery, 2011; Atkin & Armstrong, 2013)
  • 6. What is Prisoner Reentry? Seiter & Kadela (2003)  “…correctional programs from prison to community that have initiated treatment [or social development] in a prison setting and have linked with a community program to provide continuous care” (368).
  • 7. Site of Resilience: What is Street Life?   Street Ideology  Centered on personal and economic survival;  Developed from increased value and meaning in the overall code of the streets;  Activities:  Bonding activities:  Joking, “hanging on the block,” or playing basketball, to organizing and sponsoring events in the local community  Illegal activities:  Burglary, interpersonal violence, and use and sales of narcotics Payne, 2011
  • 8. Sites of Resilience: Theoretical Model  Payne, 2011
  • 9. Structural Condition: Prison  Gander Hill Howard R. Young Correctional Institution also known as Gander Hill 1301 E. 12th Street Wilmington, DE 19801
  • 10. Project Design Interview/Qualitative Data  Age Range Individual Interviews Age Range 18-29 6 18-22 5 28-35 Group Interviews --30-35 Dual Interviews 4 (of 4 participants) 1 (of 2 1 (of 4 participants) participants)
  • 11. Coding Scheme  1st Phase of Qualitative Coding 2nd Phase of Qualitative Coding 3rd Phase of Qualitative Coding Broad Domain Core Code Sub Codes (1) Attitudes toward Reentry Probation and Parole (1) Ineffective Programs and Services (2) Surveillance (2) Recidivism Employment/Criminal Record (1) Lack of Opportunities/ Economic Survival (2) Critical Reflections of Attitudes toward Employment
  • 12. Probation and Parole   Protect the community;  Help victims;  Provide resources; &  Make sure probationers do not break the law or violate the terms of their probation.
  • 13. Attitudes Toward Reentry Programs based on Age   Younger age group (18-29)  Less concerned with accessing quality reentry programs;  More likely to be violated by probation.  Older age group (30-35)  Need for employment and specialized workshops;  Too much supervision; not enough preparation;  Cannot depend on programs; must do things on their own.
  • 14. Experience with Probation  Aaron (29): “[Probation] won't put any steps into place to help you get a job…keep a job…or maintain a job. Part of your probation should be ‘[you’re] on probation…for you to get a job…for us to maintain this job with you’ That should be part of probation…[you] should be able to have a job already set up…so [you] can maintain it once [you] get out.” CODE: Ineffective Programs and Services
  • 15. Effectiveness of Probation   Rennie Rox (35): “You have a program that's in place and it's not doin' what it's…supposed to be doin’… [people] depend on these programs to get their self together, but it's not there…when I came home [from prison]... the second time, [I realized] that I can't depend on no reentry program, I can't depend on probation and parole…It's just gonna be a disappointment and cause me to relapse outta frustration…So I don't do [reentry programs] no more.” CODE: Ineffective Programs and Services
  • 16. Attitudes Toward Employment based on Age   Younger age group (18-29)  Impatience in wait for employment;  More likely to recidivate;  Less financial responsibilities.  Older age group (30-35)  Harder to find employment opportunities;  More likely to create their own job opportunities;  More financial responsibilities.
  • 17. Finding Employment  Byron (18): “I go back to the hood…there's nowhere for me to go…I'm boxed in, you look at Southbridge it's…like a box… with one little doorway out. Now, when you close [it], what do you want me to do?...a bunch of n****s [people are] out here hungry…kids are out there right now hungry.” CODE: Lack of Opportunities/ Economic Survival
  • 18. Resilience – Personal Efficacy  Rennie Rox (35): “What I do is I try to create my own jobs…I clean carpets. I bought a carpet machine from Home Depot. It fits in the backseat of my car. I put my fliers up all across Newcastle County. Not just in the neighborhood…[but] down Route 40 where the white people [are], handin' out my fliers in the towns... They [people] give me calls…I go respectfully.” CODE: Employment/Criminal Record
  • 19. Results: Probation  Generally, all of the Black men interviewed have negative attitudes toward reentry programs. Data suggest that as the sample becomes older (30-35), attitudes toward reentry programs are increasingly becoming negative, with age.
  • 20. Results: Employment  Data suggest that as the sample becomes older (30-35), their attitudes toward employment are increasingly becoming negative, with age. With age (18-29 to 30-35), attitudes suggest employment becomes harder to find.
  • 21. What Needs to Be Done?   Vocational Schooling/Trade Workshops  Specialized Skills/Trade (30-35)  Family and Social Support  Reduce Recidivism/Criminal Activity  Specialized Programs (in terms of age)  Wants/Needs with Age  Employment Opportunities  In Prison Preparation
  • 22. Family and Social Support   Banks (27): “It's like if you have someone that's willing to…be there for you…no matter what…if you fall short…willing to pick you back up and give support.” (positive)  Banks (27): “‘Uh, n***a you broke, you ain't got nothing, you can't do nothing, you ain't got no car… look at me, look at you’…so it's like all right I'm gonna show you what I'm about, I'm gonna get out here and do what I do and then I'm back over here again[ in the streets].” (negative)
  • 23. Acknowledgements   Department of Black American Studies  Dr. Yasser A. Payne  McNair Scholars Program     Dr. Kimberly Saunders Tiffany Scott Natalie Cook Nicole Mozee  Brooklynn Hitchens  Deangie Davis  Wilmington Office of Probation and Parole  Officer Debra Mason