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“How do Barriers to Reintegration Affect Urban Youth? “

Author: Crystal Malaquias

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: Recidivism is when a person with a criminal record reoffends, and the majority of the time, it is due to the difficulty of reintegrating into society as a contributing citizen. Studies have shown that the amount of recidivism is high, and it is significantly higher among the urban youth population. The youth face multiple obstacles in their process to reintegrate into society without any support because they are viewed as troubled teens and a lost cause. This research will investigate the different barriers such as mental health, lack of support from the community, the labeling theory, school policies, and how severe they are, especially to the urban youth population. In this research, multiple literature reviews of scholarly articles examined the effects of these specific barriers and possible solutions, all which date from 2010 to 2021. These literature reviews findings show that providing support to overcoming these challenges, such as working with programs dedicated to this issue, like Chicago Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program and The Illinois Justice Project, is critical to reducing recidivism in the youth population and how it can create a change to the whole community. As they focus on providing the youth with the proper support to help them advocate for themselves and learn essential skills needed to have an opportunity to have a fresh start. The policy recommendations include having the City of Chicago grant funding to more programs that provide resources such as mentoring and connecting with community services that provide additional help. Additionally, having these programs work with Chicago Public Schools to ensure that the youth are being advocated for. Create an outreach to educate the community of the seriousness of the issues like mental health and substance abuse, which are one of the most common barriers for the youth and make these resources accessible to all. These policies can provide the urban youth with the opportunity to reintegrate into the community and avoid reentry. Overall, this research will shed light on the challenges unnoticed by many except those involved. As well, proving some potential solutions that can reduce the amount of recidivism in the youth and spark conversation to inform more people as it affects everyone in the community.

Keywords: Youth, Recidivism, Reintegration, Community