Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Dr. Nikoi Kote-Nikoi


In the State of South Carolina (SC), African American male adolescents disproportionately face disciplinary action in public schools and other institutions. In 2013, South Carolina’s Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) released data that listed Black male children comprising 57% of all juvenile referrals in the state. This disproportionate trend is also present in South Carolina’s correctional system. In 2013, South Carolina’s Department of Corrections (SCDOC) reported that out of 20,777 male prisoners, 13,631 were Black. For adolescents or young adults looking to continue their education, alternative programs are available. One program that captures educationally displaced children in South Carolina is “Construct, SC”1 (CSC). It is one of four affiliate programs of a national non-profit, “Construct, USA”2 (CUSA), that operates in the state. The research carried out considers the efficacy of one affiliate to deliver program outcomes and includes critical insights of the author working at that affiliate’s program site. The racial and correctional implications of school removal inform discussions on South Carolina’s institutional framework in the lives of Black adolescents and young adults today. A critical theoretical approach is employed in this paper to examine the state agencies most prevalent in the lives of Black men, in a bid to ascertain how the observed disproportionate trends developed. The paper incorporates five interviews conducted with men enrolled in CSC.

The interviews outline their experiences in public school, the juvenile justice and state corrections systems. This paper argues that the structural inequalities that impact African Americans today correlate closely with those of South Carolina’s slave-holding past. Indeed this history is the basis for the state’s development and upkeep of its contemporary correctional culture and delinquency reform strategies against Black boys and men. Facilities that were established and in operation until the 1970s are understood to be at the epicenter of subsequent inter-generational societal and achievement deficits among Black men in the state.


Behavioral Economics | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Juvenile Law | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organization Development | Political Economy | Regional Economics | Social Work | United States History | Urban Studies and Planning


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