The Intersectionality of Race, Gender, and Reentry: Challenges for African-American Women
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In her Issue Brief, Professor Brown explores the cumulative difficulties faced by African-American women who are caught up in the criminal justice system today, particularly after they have served their sentences and are trying to return to their communities and families.
She argues that current criminal justice policies have an inordinate effect on the African-American community at every step of the process, and in many instances have a harsher impact on women than men, especially where the women are the heads of their households. The communities to which these women are seeking to return are also not equipped with the funding and services that are necessary to fully and effectively integrate ex-offenders. In fact, many of the policies that are currently in place are more often an impediment to reentry than helpful.
African-American women stand at the intersection of these complicated and difficult problems and their plight often goes unrecognized and unaddressed until well after the damage is done. Professor Brown argues that lawmakers and criminal justice officials need to be aware of these issues and craft policies that help rather than hurt the chances for these women to succeed when they return to their lives. Professor Brown lays out the issues and concludes that “[f]ederal and state legislatures have addressed certain facets of the reentry infrastructure, but more aggressive legislation is needed to repeal or amend laws that frustrate successful reentry of African-American women.”