Offenders and Recidivism

An examination of the cultural issues unique to the African-American juvenile offender that may contribute to recidivism.

This paper examines how there are many factors that affect offenders, status and the rate of recidivism. In particular, it looks at how, in addition to complicating personal and family of origin issues, many African-American youths are trapped in systems that reduce the likelihood of their benefiting from or participating in educational or vocational programs. It attempts to show how, in the combined services of social work, educators, parents, and the criminal juvenile justice system, there is hope that a broken system can be fixed to reduce the rate of recidivism among African-American juveniles.
“But what are the psychosocial characteristics of these young people who commit crime so often and so long? Some of the characteristics typically associated with court-involved youth are things like a lack of stable family environment, lack of a family support system or poor family relationships, abuse in the family (including sexual abuse), lack of attachment to school and community, poor school performance, poverty, early parenthood, negative peer group influences, early experimentation with drugs and/or persistent alcohol and drug use. Also, there is a two to six times greater chance that children of incarcerated parents will end up in prison, as compared to their peers. A recent survey of children of offenders by the Corrections Association of New York found that 41 percent of teenagers had been suspended from school and 31 percent had run-ins with the police.”