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The authors provide a scan of the academic and gray literature on the intersection of the criminal justice, mental health, and education systems, and how it influences the lives of at-risk racial/ethnic minority youth (boys and young men of color). As well, the authors identify interventions that aim to improve outcomes for racial/ethnic minority at-risk youth at the intersection of these three structural systems.
The authors highlight community programs that promote the education and well-being of Native men and boys. The findings and recommendations capture the breadth and depth of educational experiences among Indigenous men and boys. In addition, the authors identify guiding principles that might not otherwise be included in archival data or as educational tactics, such as cultural practices (i.e., spirituality) in intervention(s), personal, and emotional influences, and other individualized details regarding educational access, persistence, and attainment.
The authors review the evidence on programs and other interventions to address incarceration and lack of economic opportunity for boys and men of color. In addition, the authors review programs and interventions published in the scientific literature as well as reports, white papers, briefs, and other documents from the gray literature. They conclude with recommendations for action and for research.
The authors draw upon Chandler's Life Course Framework for Improving the Lives of Boys and Men of Color to focus on health outcomes. They argue that investing in health and educational outcomes could yield improved health behaviors and access to healthcare, and post positive returns in cognitive and socioemotional skills for boys of color. The authors aim to identify opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration between educators and health care providers that can improve the overall life course for boys and men of color.
The authors focus on African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American boys and men of color who face some of the most compelling health disparities and inequities in our nation. Given the significant amount of male mortality attributable to substance abuse, suicide, or depression, the authors address these three behavioral health outcomes. This focus is further supported by evidence documenting the notable amount of comorbidity between these behavioral health outcomes and other chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer) linked to the disproportionate health disadvantage shouldered by BMOC.
The authors review the physical and mental health interventions for black men in the United States, with an aim to inform the knowledge needed to develop culturally sensitive and gender-specific health interventions for those individuals. This field scan also provides an important basis for policy decisions regarding physical and mental health services, and in designing interventions that will be most effective for subgroups of black men.
This essay provides a framework for understanding how various settings influence lives of boys and young men of color. Failure to take these environments into account treats the problems experienced by this group as entirely of their own making and ignores the role that external forces play in contributing to poor outcomes. This essay provides a context for future research and analysis, in hopes that it will examine the lives and circumstances of boys and young men of color using more complex and nuanced perspectives.
This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.
Young men of color have long experienced lower earnings and higher unemployment compared to young white men. Many factors have contributed to these negative outcomes: persistent discrimination, hiring practices of employers, geographic and social isolation, substandard secondary education, lack of career and postsecondary educational guidance, inadequate career and technical education, and higher incarceration rates. This paper focuses on promising strategies for improving the labor market outcomes of low-income young men of color. It outlines an employment-focused approach to improving economic opportunities and outcomes for these young men, highlighting potential policy, system and institutional reforms as well as program investments.
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