Addressing the issue of mass incarceration amongst African-American males

Errick Christian Peck, Purdue University

Abstract

Using a qualitative research methodology, I hoped to answer four major questions concerning the problem of mass incarceration in regards to African American males in the United States: 1) How do individuals perceive culture influences the high levels of incarceration among African-American men? (2) What are structures that individuals believe influence the high levels of incarceration among African-American men? (3) What role do individuals believe they or others have in contributing to this problem? What agency do individuals believe they or others have in addressing this problem? (4) What are some communications strategies that individuals believe can be/should be employed in order to address this problem? A set of 11 questions was constructed and presented to 20 individuals from varying in race, sex, age, and socio-economic backgrounds. Five major themes presented themselves through the analysis of these interviews. These included America’s main information source about the mass incarceration of African-American males comes from the general market nes, preconceived notions and stereotypes, whom participants attributed the media’s portrayals, are then acted upon through the legal and justice system, breaking these preconceived notions and stereotypes is the difficult, yet needed, first step that has not yet been done, American society is currently failing to work together, across ethnic “divides”, in order to solve the problem, Americans are unaware of the financial burden this problem places on the general American public, and a lack of education and awareness continues American society down this path of incarcerating a specific demographic of men at an astronomically, disproportionate rate. I believe that these findings will help future research in the field of communication amongst conflicting publics.^

Degree

M.A.

Advisors

Stacey Connaughton, Purdue University.

Subject Area

African American studies|American studies|Communication|Criminology

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