Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mary Brown


The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with over 2,200,000 individuals in jails and prisons. From 1970 to 2000, the U.S. prison population increased by 500%. African American men are rearrested 72.7% of the time within 3 years of their release from prison. African Americans have a higher incarceration rate than any other racial group in the United States; nearly 1,000,000 African Americans are in jail or prison. Moreover, 60% of African American men who drop out of school are incarcerated by the age of 30 years old. Researchers have demonstrated that education can reduce recidivism; however, few scholars have examined educational attainment and recidivism in connection with African American men. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive, comparative study was to examine the relationship between education, race, and recidivism among 2,728 incarcerated men. Rates of arrest, rearrest, and educational attainment among African American men were analyzed to determine the impact of education on recidivism. Recidivism rates of incarcerated individuals were compared based on race and education using secondary data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The findings in this study suggest that educational attainment can identify vulnerabilities among an at-risk population. The findings also indicate that individuals who attain a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) equivalency significantly reduce their propensity of incarceration and recidivism. The findings may promote positive social change by educating policymakers and practitioners on the predictors that are relevant to reducing incarceration and recidivism.