African American Males and the Correlation Between Substance Abuse and the Criminal Justice System Term Paper

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African-American Males and the Correlation Between Substance Abuse and the Criminal Justice System

The purpose of this work is to research and examine the correlation between substance abuse among African-American males and the criminal justice system through conducting a literature review. Further two theoretical models that apply to African-American males will be reviewed.

There appears to be some correlation between substance abuse among African-American males and their representation in the criminal justice system. The following literature review will show that African-American males are greatly overrepresented in the statistical data of the criminal justice system.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on African American Males and the Correlation Between Substance Abuse and the Criminal Justice System Assignment

In a study conducted for the purpose of gathering data for dissemination of characteristics of those enrolled in drug courts in connect with the criminal justice system the drug courts admit this study mirrors the drug court population as found in national surveys conducted by the American university Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project. Drug court participants are primarily male with poor educational and employment achievements. Furthermore these individuals have "fairly extensive criminal histories and prior failed treatment." The most recent report states that of 237 adult drug courts that responded to the survey approximately 72% of drug court clients are male, 38% are African-American, 42% white non-Hispanic, 17% Hispanic. Of those 49% were unemployed while 76% had substance abuse treatment of a prior nature and 74% had a least one prior felony convictions and 56% had been incarcerated previously. The study finds that in the Roanoke drug court, the speculation of evaluators was that the nonwhites had lower employment rates than whites and that the employment rates were directly connected with the graduation rates. Further found in the study was that (Polk County) evaluators found that there were lower graduation rates among those who used cocaine than those who used methamphetamine. The most recent American University survey found that 83% of the Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) participants are male, 49% of those are white, 24% African-American and 23% are Hispanic. African-Americans are underrepresented in JDCs: in the juvenile justice system as a whole, 39% of drug cases for which petitions were filed during the year 1997 were listed as African-American. (Snyder et al. 1999)

In the work "Deadly Consequences An Endangered Species - Young Men of Color Living in Poverty' the author Deborah Prothrow-Stith, M.D. presents data in support of the fact that young males in poverty conditions are, according to sociologists rapidly becoming pushed into an isolated underclass at a disproportionate rate. Chronic poverty is passed from one generation to the next much in the nature of a genetic disease which is stated to be isolated greatly to inner-city projects. Stated is, " From 1948 to 1988, the CDC reports the murder rates of African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24 rose by 68%. Those same rates for young African-American males between the ages of 15 and 19 rose 100%!" (Prothrow-Stith, 1991)

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm),as of July 11, 1999, the lifetime chances of a person going to prison are higher for:

Men (9%) than are the chances for Women (1.1%)

In relation to race the chances are higher for:

Blacks (16.2%) and Hispanics (9.4%) than for Whites (2.5%)

As early as the year 1974, these differences were purported by experts to be due to the differences in the male and female role in society. (Haskell & Yablonsky, 1974) which have an "illuminating section on sex differences in criminality." In 1975 it was stated that 85% of those arrested in the U.S.A. In 1972 were male. Statistics show that between the years of 1979 and 1984 the number of "juveniles sent to adult prison [in the United States] rose by 48%. In the year of 1997 the U.S. Department of Justice related the statistical facts that in the previous 12 years those under the age of 18 sentenced to adult state prison more than doubled from the number of 3,400 in 1986 to 7,400. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000b). The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics states that two-third of U.S. reformatories were 'chronically overcrowded by 1985. (Krisberg & Austin, 1993) Furthermore African-American males comprised 44% of all criminal court referral cases by 1996 which constituted a 5% increase from nine years earlier. According to a federal study minority youth comprised approximately 32% of the youth population in 1995 and represented 68% of the juvenile incarcerated population. While black youth represented 46% of cases that were detained, they comprised 30% of all delinquency cases and by 1997 incarcerated juveniles were represented by two-thirds African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans (OJJDP [Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention] 1999)

Discussion of Theoretical Models

Poverty is termed "an assault on a child's self-esteem" (Prothrow-Stith, 1991) and this in combination with "single parents families often lead to resentment and anger in young men. Young black males in the impoverished underclass often grow to manhood robbed of their pride and self-esteem. It is related that the investigation of the effects of the socio-economic underclass is the focus of many studies and has been so since the early 1990's. A great deal of research exist that links substance abuse with certain developmental risk factors. Some of these factors are poor parenting skills, as well adversity in family or environmental condition.

The Developmental Pathways Model (HSTAT, 2005) holds that the presence of individual, familial or social risk elements in the life of an individual may predispose that individual to engage in negative behaviors. Mitigating factors are considered within this theoretical framework such as for example genetics.

Another model is the Social Development Model. (HSTAT, 2005) This model attempts to explain behaviors whether social or antisocial by the examination of the processes of socialization or the interaction of developmental mechanisms related to family, school and peer relationships. (Catalano et al., 1996)

The third model is the Social Ecological Model (HSTAT, 2005) which states that the "immediate predictor of substance abuse among adolescents is association with antisocial peers and involvement in antisocial behavior." Stated is that: "According to this model, the interplay between a youth and his or her family climate also influences the youth's self-esteem and self-efficacy. Family climate is determined over time through interactions between children and parents as they socialize and bond. Thus, bonding with both the school environment and the family shapes perceived self-efficacy and subsequent choice of peers - which influences choices about substance abuse." (HSTAT, 2005)

The fourth model is that of Contextualism. (HSTAT, 2005) It is stated that: "Contextualism hypothesizes that all behavior must be understood within its context. "Context," however, is broadly defined to include not only interactions between a person and his or her immediate environment but those between the individual and the domains of family, school, peers, community, and the larger societal or global environment. The concept of Contextualism has its source in the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Bronfenbrenner & Crouter, 1983) and is now incorporated in a model that attempts to explain adolescent substance abuse (Szapocznik & Kurtines, 1993 as cited in HSTAT, 2005)

Summary

One or more of these theoretical models may apply depending upon the individual case. The certainty exist in the statistics and data that show that African-American males are overrepresented not only in the dimension of experiential substance abuse but in the realm of experiential involvement with the criminal justice system as well.

Bibliography

American University. (1999). Drug court activity update: Composite summary information, July 1999.Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project.

American University. (2001). Drug court activity update: Composite summary information, December 2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project.

American University. (2001). Drug court activity update: Composite summary information, May 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project.

Bavon, A. (2000). The effect of the Tarrant County drug court project on recidivism. Evaluation and Program Planning, 24, 13-22.

Belenko, S. (1998). Research on drug courts: A critical review. National Drug Court Institute Review, I (1), 1-42.

Belenko, S. (1999). Research on drug courts: A critical review 1999 update. National Drug Court Institute Review, II (2), 1-58

Belenko, S. (2000). The challenges of integrating drug treatment into the criminal justice process. Albany LawReview, 63(3), 833-876.

Belenko, S. (2001). Drug courts. In C. Leukefeld, F. Tims, & D. Farabee (Eds.), Clinical and policy responses to drug offenders. New York, NY: Springer. Research on Drug Courts: A Critical Review

Belenko, S., & Peugh, J. (1999). Behind bars: Substance abuse and America's prison population. Technical report. New York, NY: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Breckenridge, J.F et al. (2000) Drunk drivers, DWI "drug court" treatment, and recidivism: Who fails? Justice Research and Policy, 2(1), 87-105.

Brewster, M.P. (2001). An evaluation of the Chester (PA) drug court program. Journal of Drug Issues, 31(1),177-206.

Broner, N. et al. (2001). Criminal justice diversion of individuals… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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