Date of Conferral


Date of Award

February 2024


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jamie Patterson


The rate of recidivism among African American women is disproportionately higher than among European American or Latino women in a southeastern state. The problem identified was the high prevalence of recidivism among African American women despite undergoing reentry programs. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the practices of reentry program leaders in a southeastern state that reduce recidivism among formerly incarcerated African American women. Evidence-based leadership development provided a conceptual framework for assessing the results of practices in the reentry program. Current reentry program leaders in a southeastern state were asked to describe the leadership practices that have helped African American women avoid recidivism. Through one-on-one semi structured interviews with four program leaders, themes emerged that improve efforts to reduce recidivism. The leadership practices program leaders use to help African American women avoid recidivism include (a) risk and needs assessment, (b) gender responsiveness, and (c) educational services. A 3-day professional development that will be disseminated using a PowerPoint presentation was developed. Needs assessments, gender responsiveness, and educational services are all practices for reducing recidivism. By addressing the specific needs of offenders and providing them with the skills they need to succeed in the community, program leaders can use these leadership practices to break the cycle of crime. The implications for positive social change include reducing the number of reincarcerated African American women across the state.