First Presenter's Institution

The University of Miami

Second Presenter's Institution

N/A

Third Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

Presenter will provide.

Brief Program Description

This presentation examines a hip-hop-based lyrical expression intervention program as a mechanism of recidivism reduction, particularly for minority youth offenders. Analyses of qualitative data indicate that the program empowers at-risk minority youth to make positive life changes while using the familiarity of hip-hop subculture to establish a comfortable learning environment. Attendees interested in juvenile justice will benefit from this presentation.

Summary

Research indicates that despite a steady decline in juvenile incarceration rates over the past few years Black youth remain twice as likely to be arrested as their white counterparts, and for certain crimes racial disparities among arrest rates are even larger (The Sentencing Project, 2014). Racial disparities begin with arrest but exist at each stage of the juvenile justice system, affecting the lives of youth far beyond the completion of their sentences. According to the National Reentry Resource Center (2015), 84 percent of all juvenile offenders will reoffend within five years following their release. Of these youth, Black male adolescents are the most likely to reoffend; they are 16 percent more likely to reoffend than are their White male counterparts (Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 2008). These racially disproportionate recidivism rates are exigent justification for the development of reentry programs tailored specifically for minority youth offenders.

Presenters will detail the preliminary findings of a qualitative study designed to assess the impact of an urban youth reentry program. A crucial and distinctive component of this particular music-based reentry program is its use of hip-hop as a background for teaching lyrical expression to urban youth. A series of semi-structured individual interviews with participants revealed several themes indicating specific domains of impact on youth, including 1) personal growth, 2) vocational and academic motivation, 3) positive identity formation, 4) effective communication and 5) mature emotional expression. Findings will be discussed in terms of the program’s impact on multiple areas of well-being as well as broader implications for an under-studied but promising avenue of recidivism reduction: hip-hop based reentry programs. This proposal offers audience members a model for an innovative approach to education for at-risk populations, juvenile justice and recidivism reduction.

Evidence

While music-based therapies are not particularly common in the curriculum of youth reentry programs, they do exist (e.g., Irene Taylor Trust’s ‘Music in Prisons’ scheme, 2006; Australian Children’s Music Foundation, 2006). More specifically, existing reentry programs based on the constructs of hip-hop culture are similar in their objectives to foster creativity and a sense of cultural belonging, and to provide youth with mechanisms of productive self-expression (e.g., Baker & Homan, 2007; Baumstark, 2016; Hartnett, Novek, & Wood, 2013). These objectives are similar those of The Motivational Edge’s lyrical expression program: to provide youth with a mechanism to describe and understand “who they are and where they came from” (The Motivational Edge, 2016).

Although the theoretical justification behind hip-hop based reentry programs is evident, the literature empirically examining their success is limited (Baker & Homan, 2007). Baker and Homan (2007) conducted a promising evaluation of a hip-hop based reentry program, Genuine Voices, which yielded results supporting the efficacy of the program. While Baker and Homan acknowledged limitations of time and security constraints, they argue that future research should provide a more in-depth examination of similar programs. The current research project provides additional evidence through utilization of open-ended interviews both with the lyrical expression program staff and with urban youth participants of the program. Preliminary findings align with those of Baker and Homan’s (2007) and therefore contribute converging and critical evidence for the effectiveness of innovative educational approaches, with specific learning objectives, for a specific population of at-risk youth.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Margaret Goldman is a current student enrolled at the University of Miami (UM), majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Social Development. She is currently conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Kohn-Wood, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychological Studies at UM. Margaret’s current research examines the crucial impact that hip-hop-based lyrical expression therapy could have in reducing recidivism rates for urban youth, particularly of minority backgrounds. As part of her research, Margaret interns at The Motivational Edge, a 501(c)(3) youth development agency that uses culturally relevant arts as a motivational platform to lower reoffending rates in urban youth. Margaret’s future plans include Doctoral programs that focus on reentry programs tailored specifically for at-risk minority youth.

Keyword Descriptors

Juvenile Justice, Recidivism Reduction, Minority Youth, Hip-Hop Education, Qualitative Research, Community Based Research

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-6-2018 4:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 5:30 PM

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Mar 6th, 4:00 PM Mar 6th, 5:30 PM

Reducing Recidivism in At-Risk Urban Youth Through Lyrical Expression Therapy: A Qualitative Program Evaluation

This presentation examines a hip-hop-based lyrical expression intervention program as a mechanism of recidivism reduction, particularly for minority youth offenders. Analyses of qualitative data indicate that the program empowers at-risk minority youth to make positive life changes while using the familiarity of hip-hop subculture to establish a comfortable learning environment. Attendees interested in juvenile justice will benefit from this presentation.