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Impact of Racially Inclusive Schooling on Adult Incarceration Rates Among U.S. Cohorts of African-Americans and Whites Since 1930

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2006 Pages: 73-104
Date Published
February 2006
32 pages

This study examined the impact of racial inclusiveness in schools on incarceration rates for 5-year cohorts of both African-Americans and Whites born since 1930.


Overall, the results indicated that African-American students who were educated in States where a larger proportion of their classmates were White experienced significantly lower incarceration rates as adults. Perhaps even more significantly, the effects of racial inclusiveness on African-American incarceration rates have become stronger over time, lending evidence to the argument that the educational climate of predominantly African-American schools has deteriorated over time. Other results showed that African-American and White students who graduated from high school had lower incarceration rates as adults. Research methodology involved using three waves of micro-level data on State prisoners and local jail inmates from the 1970, 1980, and 1990 United States censuses. This data was merged with micro-level data on noninstitutionalized individuals from the 1980 and 1990 censuses. Racial inclusion measures were created by dividing African-Americans into 5-year birth cohorts and assigning the average percentage of White students in the typical school of an African-American student at the time each student was 12 years of age. Logistic regression with State-level fixed effects for birth cohort and residence were used to calculate incarceration rates for adults who no longer reside in their birth State. Future research should examine differences in the characteristics of predominantly African-American schools before and after the 1960s. Footnotes, tables, figure, references

Date Published: February 1, 2006