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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges



Multiple systems of institutional oppression have led to the incarceration (and reincarceration) of Latino men. This study explored the disparities that formerly incarcerated Latino male students encounter while attempting to achieve positive educational outcomes in community college, and advocates for policies, programs, and services that support students in successfully navigating the higher education pipeline. Qualitative research methods were employed to examine conceptions of formerly incarcerated Latino men—among ten male students enrolled at California community colleges. Data collection consisted of semi-structured individual interviews, conducted face-to-face and online. A phenomenological approach guided the design and execution of the study. The findings of this study could be used to inform the work of administrators, faculty, and practitioners at community colleges, such as suggesting strategies for increasing the matriculation and completion of formerly incarcerated Latino men at community colleges.
Journal of applied research
in the community college
Fall 2020 – Vol. 27, No. 2
Multiple systems of institutional
oppression have led to the incarceration
(and reincarceration) of Latino men.
Instead of entering higher education,
Latino men were entering the workforce,
they were joining the military, or being
institutionalized (Sáenz & Ponjuan,
2009). Latinos makes up 22% of the
2.3 million males in state or federal
custody (Bureau of Justice Statistics,
2016). In California, Latino men are
overrepresented in prison: they are 41%
of the prison population, but only 38%
of the state population (Sakala, 2014).
Latino men have been disproportion-
ally impacted by mass incarceration in
California and the lack of educational
access results in serious consequences for
the Latinx community through socioeco-
nomic status, social mobility, workforce
gains, and civic/political engagement.
College education can break the
recidivism cycle, improve employment
opportunities, and provide economic
© Abeyta
Formerly Incarcerated
Latino Men in California
Community Colleges
Melissa E. Abeyta
San Diego State University
Multiple systems of institutional oppression have led to the incarceration
(and reincarceration) of Latino men. This study explored the disparities
that formerly incarcerated Latino male students encounter while
attempting to achieve positive educational outcomes in community
college, and advocates for policies, programs, and services that support
students in successfully navigating the higher education pipeline.
Qualitative research methods were employed to examine conceptions of
formerly incarcerated Latino men—among ten male students enrolled
at California community colleges. Data collection consisted of semi-
structured individual interviews, conducted face-to-face and online.
A phenomenological approach guided the design and execution of the
study. The ndings of this study could be used to inform the work of
administrators, faculty, and practitioners at community colleges, such
as suggesting strategies for increasing the matriculation and completion
of formerly incarcerated Latino men at community colleges.
Keywords: formerly incarcerated; Latino men; community college
Journal of applied research in the community college
© Abeyta
incentives for formerly incarcerated
Californians (Renewing Communities
Initiative, 2015). Recidivism is the return
to incarceration rate within three years
of release. Efforts to reduce recidivism
allow Latino men to transition back into
their communities as returning citizens
and resume responsibilities. According
to the Degrees of Freedom report, “six
of every ten individuals leaving prison
are reincarcerated for a parole violation
or new conviction within three years of
release” (Mukamal et al., 2015, p. 18).
Higher education has been identied as
an essential impact to reduce recidivism
and positively impact the immediate
social network of formerly incarcer-
ated individuals (Sturm et al., 2010).
Through community partnerships and
rehabilitation, Latino men would have
the support and opportunity to reenter
their communities.
Through degree attainment, for-
merly incarcerated students “are more
likely to break the intergenerational
cycle of poverty and to serve as leaders
and mentors to the next generation”
(Renewing Communities Initiative,
2015, p. 20). The effects of incarcera-
tion for Latino men have lasting social
and economic inequities for them and
their communities. The various effects
of incarceration include the psychologi-
cal effect, generational and community
impacts, and economic instability.
Study Purpose and Research
The purpose of this qualitative
research was to explore the dispari-
ties that formerly incarcerated Latino
male (FILM) students encounter while
attempting to achieve positive educa-
tional outcomes in community college.
This study also sought to advocate for
policies, programs, and services that
support FILMs in successfully navigat-
ing the higher education pipeline; for
example, in programming that supports
the sense of belonging for this student
population and workshops designed spe-
cically for them to academically and
personally advance (computer literacy,
scholarships, self-care). Understanding
the experiences of formerly incarcerated
Latino men pursuing higher education
addresses the gap in literature regarding
this population and helps practitioners
and scholars understand the transi-
tion and acculturation experiences of
this group. Guided with the proper
resources, these men would be given the
opportunity to successfully fulll their
career aspirations, obtain degrees, and
ultimately decrease the economic disad-
vantages faced by that community.
The following research questions
guided this study: (a) How do FILMs
make meaning of their experiences in
postsecondary education? (b) How has
mass incarceration shaped a FILM’s
identity as a college student? (c) What
factors (e.g., programs, resources,
people), either on or off campus, have
supported and/or challenged FILMs to
be successful in the community college?
Literature Review
School-to-Prison Pipeline
The school-to-prison pipeline con-
tains policies and procedures that lead
school aged children/adolescents onto
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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
a pathway from school to the crimi-
nal justice system. It begins inside the
classroom and the teacher’s disciplinary
decision for punishing the student (Elias,
2013). Specically, it is policies, such as
the Zero Tolerance Policy, that result in
out-of-class time and suspensions that
are major factors to the pipeline. Smith
(2009) identied zero-tolerance policies
as the intersection between the educa-
tion and criminal justice systems. The
school-to-prison pipeline is evidence
of institutional racism and structural
oppression faced by students of color.
The two student groups in the
school-to-prison pipeline are minori-
tized students and students with
disabilities (Elias, 2013). In the 2009-
2010 academic year, research found
1in 14 Latino students were suspended
annually, compared to 1 in 20 for White
students (Elias, 2013). Hatt (2011) dis-
cussed how institutional policies within
prisons and schools shaped the lived
experiences of incarcerated youth. The
lack of educational opportunity for youth
shifted their focus to drug trafcking for
economic opportunities. The two major
ndings were Bad Boys and Second-
Class Citizenry. The school socialization
of discipline policies begins as early as
elementary school through a “Bad Boy”
social identity targeting boys of color.
These patterns begin to explain the
school-to-prison pipeline.
Students of color are overrepresented
in suspension and school expulsion
practices. Seroczynski and Jobst (2016)
examined the school-to-prison pipeline
specially related to Latino youth and
their families. Latino youth are 2 to 3
times more likely to be incarcerated than
their White peers, causing nearly 18,000
Latino youth to be annually incarcer-
ated (Hatt, 2011; Seroczynski & Jobst,
2016). These youth have been portrayed
as “drop-outs” although they have been
accurately pushed out (Fine, 1991; Hatt,
2011). Researchers conducted a quali-
tative study of the resilience between
formerly incarcerated adolescents (Todis
et al., 2001). The correctional programs
provided formerly incarcerated adoles-
cents structured schedules, therefore,
as adults the participants were able to
complete educational degrees, obtain
jobs, and manage addictions (Todis et
al., 2001). These participants described
needing post-correction structure and
support as they transitioned.
Latinos in Higher Education
Researchers found educational
inequalities among Latina/o students at
the point of community college transfer
(Sólorzano et al., 2005). Unfortunately,
Latina/o college students face racial-
ized barriers by educational inequalities
through structures, policies, and prac-
tices (Sólorzano et al., 2005). Specially,
the disparities were found at the enroll-
ment, low transfer rates, and retention/
graduation for Latina/o students at
both 2-year and 4-year higher education
institutions (Sólorzano et al., 2005). The
research on Latina/o college students
indicates they are underperforming at
each point in the educational pipeline.
Carrillo (2013) examined the aca-
demic success of Latino males in college
and an acquired masculinities Latinos
encounter in academic spaces, particu-
larly the socialized “norm” that manhood
Journal of applied research in the community college
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should be committed to their neighbor-
hood, contradictory to masculinities
associated with schooling. Participants
understood prioritized masculinities
they experienced at college were dif-
ferent than the set of masculinities
they experienced in their neighborhood
(Carrillo, 2013).
Bukoski and Hatch (2016) found
that Black and Latino men leveraged
their social constructed masculinity to
be resilient in response to educational
institutional structures. Researchers
also found counterstories as a major
inuence for Black and Latina/o families
to pursue college (Knight et al., 2004).
Knight et al. (2004) found that counter-
stories are how the intersectionality of
Black and Latina/o families encounter at
postsecondary educational institutions.
Guiding Frameworks
Guided by S. R. Harper’s (2010)
anti-decit achievement perspective to
focus on the success and assets of stu-
dents historically underrepresented and
underserved, for formerly incarcerated
Latino students this framework allows
educators to not only learn from their
success stories but to humanize them
and to support their academic endeav-
ors. The guiding frameworks for this
study included Critical Race Theory,
Brofenbrenner’s (1994) Ecological
Systems Theory of Development, and
Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural
Wealth. Critical Race Theory guided this
research as a lens to view education and
the carceral state as racialized systems.
Bronfenbrenner’s (1994) Ecological
System was used to describe the
interactions with the ecological systems.
Lastly, Community Cultural Wealth was
used as a lens to view the assets within
these systems.
The qualitative design that was used
for this study was phenomenology. This
study sought to understand how for-
merly incarcerated Latino men make
meaning of their experiences in postsec-
ondary education. According to Creswell
(2014), phenomenological study is a
narrative report of lived experiences
from several individuals who describe a
common phenomenon.
Data Collection Procedures
The data collection procedures that I
used to conduct this study were one-on-
one, semi-structured interviews. Prior
to the interviews, I asked participants
to complete a background/demographic
questionnaire. They were asked to
answer questions about their personal
background, heritage identity, and ques-
tions about their college enrollment.
This information was used during the
analytical process to identify additional
nuances in the overall experiences of the
Semi-structured interviews were
conducted face-to-face or via video
conference using Zoom and were audio-re-
corded. The duration of the interviews
was between 60 to 90 minutes. During
that initial communication, I introduced
myself and explained my positional-
ity for conducting the study. I then
explained the process and pre-interview
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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
questionnaire, I gave them an overview
of the protocol, I answered any ques-
tions the potential participants had
and, lastly, we scheduled an interview. I
used an interview protocol that included
questions pertaining to participants’
personal and academic experiences.
The ten participants of the study
represented a range of diversity. The
average age of the participants was
34.5 years. They identied as Chicano/
Xicano, Mexican-American, Central
American, and Mexican. The length of
college enrollment at their community
college varied from their rst semester
to four years. The length of incarceration
varied as half of the participants were
incarcerated for more than 12 years.
The participants were mostly incarcer-
ated at state institutions. Additionally,
only one participant was enrolled in an
in-prison education program as part
of the Community colleges: Seymour-
Campbell Student Success Act of 2012
(SB 1456) that previously restricted
community colleges in offering programs
for currently and formerly incarcerated
students. Their majors varied from the
following: civil engineering, re science,
business administration, and psychol-
ogy. All the participants had a desire
to at least obtain a bachelor’s degree,
the majority aspired to attend graduate
school, and their average GPA was 3.5.
Data Analysis
The phenomenology research meth-
ods required the researcher to engage
in a series of phases: (a) epoche, (b)
bracketing, and (c) a cluster of mean-
ings (Moustakas, 1994). The rst phase
was originated by Husserl, known as a
process, called epoche. When research-
ers set aside their own experiences and
begin the interview with no judgements,
researchers create an opportunity for
rapport, known as epoche (Creswell,
2014; Moustakas, 1994). Prior to begin-
ning the study, I used epoche to bracket
out my research biases and expectations.
Secondly, I used a phenomenological
reduction process known as bracketing.
According to Denzin (1989), bracketing
involves several steps including: (a)
identify key phrases and statements
that directly describe the phenome-
non; (b) interpret the meanings of those
phrases; (c) if possible, obtain the sub-
ject’s interpretation of phrases; (d)
examine meanings for what is revealed
about the recurring features of the phe-
nomenon being studied; and (e) suggest
a tentative statement or denition of
the phenomenon in terms of the essen-
tial recurring features identied. After
each ten interviews were conducted
and transcribed, I analyzed each of the
transcripts line-by-line. In this phase I
bracketed the question and used horizon-
talization to ensure each statement had
equal value, then I identied delimited
horizons to understand participant expe-
riences (Moustakas, 1994). Specically,
during the data analysis this included
highlighting signicant statements from
the participants to understand how they
experienced the phenomenon (Creswell,
The third phase contained the
clustering of meanings. During this
Journal of applied research in the community college
© Abeyta
phase, ve categories were identied
that provided insight into the phenom-
enon of formerly incarcerated Latino
men in California community colleges.
Specically, I separated the categories
into textual descriptions, which is what
the formerly incarcerated Latino stu-
dents’ experienced. These descriptions
were conducted for each of the par-
ticipants. The structural descriptions
are how the participants experienced
the phenomenon. Similarly, individ-
ual descriptions were created for each
of the participants. During this pro-
cess, I focused on how the participants
made meaning of their experiences in
postsecondary education; how mass
incarceration had shaped their identity
as college students; and how programs,
resources, or individuals have supported
or challenged their success in commu-
nity college.
The disparities that formerly incar-
cerated Latino students encounter while
attempting to achieve positive educa-
tional outcomes in community colleges
are multifaceted. The ndings of this
study include the collective and over-
all experiences of the participants lived
experiences and encompass the follow-
ing themes: (a) academic pathways, (b)
homeboy scholar identity, (c) carceral
consciousness, (d) resilience, and (e)
institutional biases.
“You Should of Learned This in
High School”
The first finding captured how
participants made meaning of their
postsecondary education experience.
Participants mentioned their academic
pathways were through their decision
to start college, the college preparation,
and faculty interactions. Specically,
participants described a lack of prepara-
tion that stems from being incarcerated
during traditional high school years and
being in juvenile hall. For example, one
student shared:
“You should of learned this in
high school…you should know
this already.” Yeah she gave me
an attitude. She hit it just like
that too saying, “this is stuff
you learned in high school, you
should know how to write an
essay.” Then I told her, I was in
juvenile hall and then at 18 years
old I went to prison. I didn’t go
to a regular high school. I didn’t
have that type of help.
In particular, this student population
missed the socialization that tradi-
tional students have, such as knowing
how to write an essay or submitting an
assignment online. Therefore, when this
student population arrives on campus,
they are in an unfamiliar environment
with hidden social norms of being a col-
lege student.
“Welcome to the Yard”
Participants described how mass
incarceration shaped their student iden-
tity. Students were completely aware of
their past of being formerly incarcerated
while embracing being a college student.
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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
As they formed their student identity,
there were similarities in how students
navigated intuitional spaces. For exam-
ple, one student shared,
Welcome to the yard, so in the
same setting welcome to college.
It’s the same feeling when you
go to college, when it comes to
that type of identity you can’t
display it… but when it comes
to college, the maturity level is
there, the identity is for you to
be a student… I’m no longer a
gang member or a prison gang
member, I’m studying to be a
This student described how he was insti-
tutionalized in juvenile hall and in state
prison, he was socialized to prison norms
however through his involvement on
campus he developed a sense of belong-
ing and began to develop his student
“It’s Like a Sign of Respect”
Participants described interactions
with their peers that are socially dif-
ferent from the experiences when they
were incarcerated. Several participants
described carceral culture of respect
and politics that led to their socializa-
tion from being incarcerated. However,
participants described a culture shock
on their college campuses. For example,
one student shared,
When you’re in county jail or
when you were in prison, when
you say good morning to some-
body. Whatever race it could be.
When you say good morning,
it’s like a sign of respect and
you’re going to get it back from
somebody. Being here, it’s just
different for me. When I got out
it was different because I was
still feeling I had been institu-
tionalized on a lot of things.
As the participants transitioned through
multiple institutional systems, the
carceral system and the educational
system, participants described a sense of
carceral consciousness and feeling stig-
matized on campuses.
“I Have a Drug Addiction and Here
I am at College Trying”
One of the challenges many of the
participants faced was sobriety. They
shared how maintaining sobriety was an
obstacle they had to continuously work
toward and how sobriety continues to
inuence their decision to be in college.
The only issue that I’m dealing
with is my sobriety. But like I
said, going to school, it’s given
me a way out. Although there
are times when things get frus-
trating, it’s like I turned to the
only thing I know. Although I try
not to use that as an excuse or a
crutch but that’s the reality of it.
As participants described the various
sources of support and challenges, they
shared stories of resiliency and second
challenges. Participants described their
experiences with obtaining support for
these challenges at their 2-year institu-
tions. Although these challenges were
undesirable, being able to overcome
these disparities is an act of resilience.
“What the Hell is Wrong with You?”
Several participants described
having challenges with financial aid
Journal of applied research in the community college
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that is unique to this student group.
They are challenged with the Selective
Service System when men between the
ages of 18-25 are required to register
for the draft. Several participants expe-
rienced challenges when attempting to
obtain nancial aid because they were
incarcerated during that age period. For
example, one student shared,
They were looking at me like,
what the hell is wrong with you?
Just straight up, I ain’t gonna lie,
it pissed me off so much. I was
like, wait, I’m gonna be honest
with you, I got locked up when
I was 16. I’ve been in prison
and as soon as I told them, their
whole everything completely
changed…It’s like you guys are
asking me a gang of questions
that I can’t even answer you
cause I’ve been incarcerated the
last 12 years.
Participants described these biases
through their interactions with nancial
aid and from negative staff interactions.
This nal nding describes the institu-
tional biases that formerly incarcerated
Latino men encounter at California com-
munity colleges.
Findings from this study add to
context on the prison-to-college litera-
ture specically to on-campus support
for formerly incarcerated student pop-
ulations in community colleges. The
current literature focuses on in-prison
education programming. These ndings
also add to the carceral consciousness
literature in an educational setting. This
study reveals that formerly incarcerated
Latino men are faced with transitioning
from their carceral identity, which is
forced by the carceral system, to their
student identity. Students from this pop-
ulation face intergenerational trauma
from first-hand experiences of the
school-to-prison pipeline and aspects of
their carceral identity may be triggered
as they are transitioning to their stu-
dent identity. Lastly, ndings also may
be used to challenge stereotypes of for-
merly incarcerated Latino men as they
navigate academic institutions.
The participants in this study
shared their lived experience as for-
merly incarcerated Latino students
who had successfully matriculated into
a California community college. They
each provided unique perspectives for
how community college administrators,
faculty, and student services practi-
tioners can learn from the success and
challenges of this student population.
Participants described feeling a lack
of college preparation that stemmed
from being criminalized as a juvenile
and being incarcerated in juvenile hall
instead of enrolled in a traditional high
school. The lived experiences these stu-
dents brought with them as formerly
incarcerated students were critical in
navigating the campus environment.
Participants held various leadership
roles and were involved with the for-
merly incarcerated student organization
on campus. Although the participants
were aware of their past experiences and
the obstacles they had to overcome to be
students, they were empowered by their
newly formed student identities.
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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
Recommendations for Policy at the
Local Community College Level
The ndings from this study sug-
gest implications for policy for the
advancement and support of formerly
incarcerated Latino men at California
community colleges. The connections to
campus resources for FILM students to
help them stay enrolled through comple-
tion must be a priority for community
college administrators, faculty, and
practitioners. Therefore, the following
recommendations for policy are offered
in this section.
Formerly Incarcerated Minoritized
Students to Disproportionately
Impacted Students
Formerly incarcerated students
are not specifically identified as the
state-mandated student group that two-
year institutions are required to include
as part of disproportionately impacted
students unless the institution chooses to
include formerly incarcerated students.
However, given the participants’ experi-
ences with food and housing insecurities,
nancial challenges, and computer lit-
eracy challenges, community college
administrators should take the initia-
tive to include the formerly incarcerated
student population. It is critical that by
including this student population in part
of equity plans, that specic resources
and funding are made available for these
students. Additionally, institutions
should include this student population
in their data collection to better identify
completion attainment of this student
Disabled Student Programs &
Services for FI Population
Given the participants’ experiences
with carceral consciousness, Disabled
Student Programs and Services (DSPS)
administrators should consider having
carceral consciousness as a veriable
disability for formerly incarcerated
Latino students to assist them in attain-
ing their educational goals. Additionally,
as nearly 40% of the formerly incarcer-
ated population has learning disabilities
(Vallas, 2016), students should be tested
and properly diagnosed for learning dis-
abilities at college entry. Such services
provided by DSPS, like test-taking
accommodations, specialized instruc-
tional support, assistive technology,
and note-taking assistance, would be
essential for the success of formerly
incarcerated Latino students with
Recommendations for Practice
The ndings from this study sug-
gest implications for practice to support
formerly incarcerated Latino men at
California community colleges. The con-
nection to campus resources for FILM
students to help them stay enrolled
through completion must be a priority
for community college administrators,
faculty, and practitioners. Therefore,
the following recommendations for com-
munity college administrators, faculty,
and student services practitioners are
offered in this section.
Journal of applied research in the community college
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Learning Communities Specically
for Formerly Incarcerated Latino
Learning communities specically
designed for formerly incarcerated
Latino men should be established to
increase engagement and retention.
Institutions should design these learn-
ing communities by incorporating
curriculum focused on identity devel-
opment and personal growth. Group
counseling should be incorporated into
these learning communities. Peer-to-
peer mentoring should also be available.
As Latinx/a/o students are accustomed
to familismo and collectivism, Latino
students would thrive in a cohort-based
program (Pertuz, 2018). By creating
these spaces for formerly incarcerated
Latino men, it holds a space for them to
not feel marginalized at an institution
that was not systematically designed for
Recruitment and Outreach
Institutions should consider devel-
oping an overall plan for recruitment
and outreach that meets the needs of
their regional area. Recruitment efforts
should include partnerships with their
local parole and probation departments.
A partnership can also assist in identi-
fying students who have been paroled
but were enrolled with an in-prison
education program, and help identify a
local community college for students to
complete their studies. In partnership
with professions, institutions should
identify academic and professional path-
ways for formerly incarcerated Latino
students. These pathways should not
be only Career Technical Education
(CTE) focused, but include professional
Additional partnerships should be
established with regional food banks,
and sobriety and mental health agencies.
Institutions should also collaborate with
local universities to form partnerships
with the Department of Counseling and
Psychological Services for undergrad-
uate and graduate students to conduct
their eldwork units in these designated
learning communities.
Professional Development and Ally
Given the participants’ experiences
with transitioning, institutions should
consider that their college administra-
tors, faculty, and practitioners engage in
equity professional development focused
programming. It is critical for institu-
tions to include implicit bias training for
faculty and staff. Faculty professional
development opportunities for adding
support content in their syllabi for
resources available to formerly incarcer-
ated students should be implemented.
Additionally, as institutions continue to
diversify their faculty, the following four
hiring strategies for increasing faculty
diversity are: (a) implicit bias training
for every search committee, (b) diversity
certication of applicant pools, (c) diver-
sity advocates on each committee, and
(d) inclusive job search criteria (Wood,
2019). Specic training for nancial aid
counselors and student workers regard-
ing selected services and how to handle
out of state residency when FILMs were
sent to out of state prisons needs to be
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Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
included in professional development
Correspondence regarding this article
should be directed to Dr. Melissa E. Abeyta,
Community College Equity Assessment
Lab, San Diego State University, 5500
Campanile Way, EBA Room 210, San Diego,
CA 92182. Email: /
(951) 387-5201
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The author would like to thank the
ten participants of this study for sharing
their life experiences. The author would
like to thank Dr. Marissa Vaques, Dr.
Frank Harris III, and Miguel Penalosa,
J.D. for their insight, guidance through-
out the course of this study.
... In California, Latino males are 41% of the prison population, but only 38% of the state population, therefore Latino men are overrepresented in prison (Sakala, 2014). Mass incarceration has disproportionately impacted Latino men, which results in negative consequences for the Latino/a/x community (Abeyta, 2020). ...
... Moreso, Abeyta (2020) proposed carceral capital, a form of cultural wealth to describe the strength in their experience as formerly incarcerated students. In particular, as formerly incarcerated students are continuously codeswitching between their communities at home and their campus community. ...
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This qualitative study examined the experiences of formerly incarcerated students in community colleges. In this study, participants described how they made meaning of their postsecondary education experience through their decision to start college, the college preparation, and faculty interactions that collectively influenced their academic pathways. The students of this study were formerly incarcerated Latino men enrolled in California community colleges located in northern, central, and southern regions. This study specifically sought to challenge the stigma that revolves around the experiences of the carceral system leading to a deficit perspective on this student population. The findings from this study aligns with the academic support services for this student population in higher education.
... Research examining the college-going experiences of students with criminal records is a new and underdeveloped line of inquiry, with most scholarship being published within the last 10 years (e.g., Abeyta, 2020;Copenhaver et al., 2007;Custer, 2013;Girardo et al., 2017;Halkovic & Greene, 2015;Johnson, 2020;Johnson & Abreu, 2019;Johnson & Davis, 2021;McTier et al., 2017McTier et al., , 2020Strayhorn et al., 2013). Studies that focus specifically on college access among students with criminal records can be organized broadly around three thematic areas: (a) higher education in prison, (b) policy barriers, and (c) impact of criminal punishment involvement on college enrollment. ...
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This study directs attention to an oft-overlooked group of students in higher education: formerly incarcerated Black men (FIBM). Specifically, we aim to generate knowledge about how FIBM experience the college-going process to inform policy and practice aimed at broadening their participation and increasing their persistence. Two research questions guide our analysis: (1) How do FIBM understand and conceptualize the importance of college? (2) What factors help facilitate their access to and persistence in college? Employing qualitative research methods, we draw on Yosso's (2005) Community Cultural Wealth perspective as a conceptual frame. Three major findings were identified: “Choosing Community College as a Life-or-Death Decision,” “Education as Liberation,” “Critical Role of Institutional Agents.”
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This qualitative study examines the ways in which Mexican-origin scholarship boys (Hoggart, 1957/2006; Rodriguez, 1982) use their conceptions and connections to their working-class “home” to achieve academic excellence all the while resisting hegemonic discourses in higher education. “Home” is framed as site of political memory, hope, agency, and struggle. Bhabha’s (1994) notion of the unhomely provides additional theoretical grounding for exploring the schooling trajectories of the scholarship boys. This research moves beyond clean victory narratives by unpacking various traumas associated with social class mobility, bounded assimilation, and the politics of whitestream (Urrieta, 2009) knowledge and settings in higher education. The analysis of the students’ identities and coping strategies provides valuable contributions to the dearth of research on academically
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This article posits that a wide range of U.S. education and criminal justice policies and practices -- such as zero tolerance regimes, academic sorting, and school district financing methods -- collectively result in students of color being disparately pushed out of school and into prison. Vast empirical and qualitative research indicates that this dynamic process, known as the "school-to-prison pipeline", wreaks havoc upon today's minority population. Both anti-pipeline legal scholarship and equal protection case law tend to examine school-to-prison pipeline problems through an isolated, or perhaps overly-restricted, lens which inhibits the development of a jurisprudence that allows the pipeline's systemic invidiousness to meaningfully redressed. This article attempts to advance normative viewpoints and legal doctrine by deconstructing the pipeline through a structural racism framework.
Latinos are one of the fastest growing sectors in the American population, and Latinos figure prominently in many political, economic, and educational social systems. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system is no exception. At least 18,000 Latino youth are incarcerated annually, and they are 2 to 3 times more likely to be incarcerated than White youth. This article discusses three broad topics that relate specifically to Latino youth and their families who are served by juvenile justice facilities: language development and communication between Latino families and professionals in the educational and justice systems, sociocultural variables specific to Latino families, and ethical considerations for professionals who interact with Latino youth. Specific strategies for both the educational and juvenile justice systems are suggested that might enable these groups to better serve Latino youth and their families. Both research and case studies of Latino youth served in the court diversion program, Reading for Life, are considered.
Objective: This study examines masculinity in a manner commensurate with established feminist frameworks to deconstruct a patriarchal system that ill-serves both men and women. Method: We utilized standpoint theory and narrative analysis to examine longitudinal, qualitative data from first-year Black and Latino males as they transition into community college through their second semester. Findings: Positionality is critical to understanding the success of Black and Latino males and their response to institutional structures. In many instances, men leveraged normative constructions of masculinity as aids to their success, and their resilience and confidence were filtered through their perceived development into adults. Conclusion: Implications for practice include the creation of spaces for men to talk about what it means to be a man in college and ways to influence men to make the most of resources when proffered, even if they tend to avoid seeking them out on their own. Further research should seek to understand how men develop and evolve their concepts of masculinity as well as how and to what extent spaces for men actually work to dismantle hegemonic masculinity.
Using critical race theory (CRT) as a framework, the authors analyze the educational inequities and racialized barriers faced by Latina/o college students when navigating the educational pipeline leading to a college degree. The impact of racialized structures, policies, and practices is examined in the context of how they influence the educational attainment and academic progress of Latinas/os. The article concludes by offering CRT-based policy and practical approaches to enhancing the success of Latina/o college students.
The US has one of the most inequitably funded school systems and the largest prison population in the industrialized world. These two factors help to construct what is known as the school to prison pipeline. The past 30 years has included punitive policies within schools and the criminal justice system that have resulted in a disproportionate number of Latino and African–American youth being suspended from school, dropping out, and/or incarcerated. In this article, the lived experiences of incarcerated youth framed by institutional policies within prisons and schools are discussed. In total, fifteen interviews with incarcerated youth who spontaneously discussed drug trafficking were analyzed using criminological theory. A key theme for many youth was how a lack of educational opportunity and success shifted their focus to attaining economic opportunities through drug trafficking. Policy implications are discussed relating to school and corrections funding along with the costs to society.