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Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Abstract

This article discusses the issues facing formerly incarcerated individuals upon reentry from prison into their communities, focusing primarily on the unique challenges faced by African-American males. The article first highlights the strong correlation between incarceration and race: People of color make up a disproportionate percentage of the U.S. prison population, are more likely to receive harsh prison sentences, and are less likely to be found eligible for parole. The article focuses specifically on the challenges facing African-American males as they exit prison and attempt to reenter a society where they will face institutional racism in multiple forms and on multiple levels. A myriad of statistics demonstrates the heightened burden that African-American males bear in searching for employment, accessing government assistance and support, participating in the political process, and escaping the cycle of incarceration. In conclusion, the article proposes a diverse range of solutions to address the unique needs of African- American ex-offenders as they struggle to combat structural racism. The article advocates for innovative reentry strategies - including provision of educational opportunities, increased access to health care and substance abuse treatment, and culturally appropriate job training programs - whose programming expressly targets African Americans as a means to counteract the existing race disparities in the provision of services.

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