Category Archives: Dissertation

Topics surrounding my areas of study: restitution, rehabilitation, restoration, transformation,
Correctional Education, mass incarceration, recidivism, law, legal, public and Justice administration, the African-American male, Black males, sentencing reform, social justice and leadership.

Collateral Harm of Imprisonment

Collateral Harm1I recently read an article entitled, “The Harms Beyond Imprisonment:  Do We Have Special Moral Obligations Towards the Families and Children of Prisoners?”  We must consider several collateral harms, including decreased psychological well-being, financial costs, loss of economic opportunities, and intrusion and control over their private lives (Bulow, 2013).

 

Commentary

The overall question is whether the harm inflicted on individual lawbreakers through the act of legal punishment is justified and why (Bulow, 2013).  I might add another question:  Is harm inflicted “moral”?  Since the children are not those whom have committed the crime, my answer to the question in the title of this post is a resounding YES! – Period, Case-Closed!

Bibliography

Bulow, W. (2013). The Harms Beyond Imprisonment: Do We Have Special Moral Obligations Towards the Families and Children of Prisoners? Ethic Theory Moral Practice, 1-2.

 

A Second Chance

A Second Chance

Terry Keller just wants his GED. He sits near the front of the same basic-education classroom at the California Institution for Men, where Donald Daniels spends his days. Keller—a wiry spark of a man, always quick with a hand when the teacher poses a question—is serving a three-year sentence for dealing cocaine.

“I chose as a grown man to sell dope,” he said during a recent class. “If I wait for someone to give me [something else] to do, I’m going to be here forever. I have to go within myself and say it’s time to start being a man. I take it upon myself.”

Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars are up to 43 percent less likely to return to prison.  More than 2.2 million people were locked up in American prisons and jails in 2013. That’s more than the state population of New Mexico.  (RAND, 2016)

Commentary

In 2001, there were 1.4 million people incarcerated in the United States (Looman & Carl, 2015).  More than 2.2 million people were locked up in American prisons and jails in 2013 (Rand, 2016).  It was in the fall of 2013 when I first read this statistic from RAND.  My fellow cohort members and I in our doctoral program had begun the daunting task of determining our research interest for dissertation. After reading this startling statistic from RAND I was immediately ARRESTED (pun intended)!  What eventually became even more disturbing was the fact that Black males were disproportionately incarcerated (Goldberg & Linda, 2009).  Two to three weeks later, I found myself working in a Correctional Education program.  My dissertation is looking at the willingness, readiness, and or planning of correctional education programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities that prepare the Black male for re-entry into society after release from jail or prison.  America, we have work to do! – Period, Case-Closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Role of Race in American Justice System

A particularly important aspect of the role of race in the justice system relates to sentencing, because the prospect of a racially discriminatory process violates the ideals of equal treatment under law which the system is premised (Kansal, T. & Mauer, M., 2005).

Kansal and Mauer (2005) continued with:  The most recent generation of evidence suggests that while racial dynamics have changed over time, race still exerts an undeniable presence in the sentencing process. 

Commentary:

Should those among us who have a reasonably functioning mind just ignore the fact that racism is not a factor in the lives of the so-called minority?  Should those of us of all objective categories of race and creed who research and read the data run and bury our heads in the sand – choosing to be oblivious to the data that speaks with an absolute clarity that we’ve much work to do before America becomes this Utopian society? Absolutely not!  We all have work to do!  Let us be about it! Period, Case-Closed.

Commitment, Dedication – Service

I read recently, that the primary goal of corrections is that of reducing recidivism. Recidivism is just a fancy word for the returning to jail or prison after release.  Although this is a worthy goal, I think we are fooling ourselves if the correctional industry is not committed, completely dedicated to that of service.  And how can one serve if the mission or the vision has not been clearly delineated.  It is impossible, in my opinion, to achieve any sensible level of success.  (Irvin, 2013)

Commentary:

Truth be told, it does not seem to bother you until it becomes your son, daughter, nephew, niece, sister, brother, father, mother, …well, you understand.  Education is the key.  Correctional education then – matters.  Period, Case-Closed!

Mass Incarceration and the New Cast System

Although there is more diversity of leadership in the court system today race endures as a critical role in many criminal justice outcomes. This is clearly demonstated in the number of Black males that are locked away in prison. Mass incarceration of blacks has established another cast system since the fall of Jim Crow (Alexander, 2012). After emancipation, racism simply changed its garments. It now hides behind the wickedly crafted criminal “justice” system. – Period, Case-Closed!

2.3 Million People Incarcerated

There are 2.3 million people behind bars (Drucker, E., 2011) in America’s jails and/or prisons. 

Commentary

2.3 million is an atrocious statistic and in my opinion damnable to America’s notion of justice.  This statistic is of such a grotesque nature that I was immediately arrested-pun intended!  Residing in the city of Houston, the 4th largest city in the nation, Houston “proper” (the city limits) boasts of some 2 million plus people.  The number of people incarcerated in American jails or prisons is like everyone in the city of Houston being jailed or imprisoned.  As a Black male, what really shocked me was that Black males were disproportionately represented.  In some states, black men have been admitted to prison at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of White men (Fellner, Jamie, 2000).

As such, my research area will be on that of Correctional Education and its affect on mass incarceration.  In the last month, I have read several articles or documents.  One of the articles is a book review entitled, “Mass Incarceration, Policy-making, and the Ex-Prisoner:  A Review Essay” by Ben Wilcox.  I also purchased the book, “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, by Michelle Alexander.  These two sources among others have led me to believe that there is a silent movement building for the advocacy for sentencing reform and reduction of mass incarceration. 

This post and future posts in this category of the blog are my small efforts in assisting in creating a sense of urgency for a type of massive awareness, particularly in the Black community and a push for public involvement to reduce mass incarceration and recidivism.  – Period, Case-Closed!

7 Million Under Correctional Supervision

There are a total of 7 + million people under correctional supervision: in jail, prison, or on probation or parole (Davis, 2014).

Commentary

This statistic is of such a contradiction to the American value and tradition of second chances. Particularly, considering the nation’s indictiments against other countries.  Iraq is a chief example.   Furthermore, ex-offenders return home to a number of legal discriminations, disabilities, and or penalties (Irvin, 2014).  Irvin (2014) continued with these discriminations, etc. or called collateral challenges or consequences.  These consequences and challenges are a type of perpetual punishment; it is perpetual retribution even after time-served, fines and or fees paid, even after successful completion of correctional supervision.  Isn’t this is a fine example of a national hypocrisy?  – Period, Case-Closed!