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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Community Engagement and Social Change Minor Capstone Papers

About Community Engagement and Social Change Minor Capstone Papers: TODO
Cover page of The Barriers to Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Elderly Individuals That Can Ultimately Lead to Homelessness: A Policy Document Analysis

The Barriers to Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Elderly Individuals That Can Ultimately Lead to Homelessness: A Policy Document Analysis

(2020)

Although homelessness, mass incarceration, and reentry to society are discussed in many different areas of research, there is little known when it comes to the effects that these issues have on elderly individuals. The barriers that elderly individuals face upon reentry to society are countless and the transition is far from smooth. This paper primarily focuses on housing, social security, and employment  policies. Public and private housing can be difficult to access due to required background checks and other factors such as loss of contact with family members due to long-term incarceration. Elderly individuals who spent most of their lives in prison may not be able to benefit from social security either. Additionally, employment could be difficult as well for those who cannot engage in physical activities and for those who do not have the technological skills necessary for non-physical jobs. Together, these findings suggest that the current policies make it incredibly difficult for elderly formerly incarcerated individuals to have any kind of financial cushion upon release, making them inevitably vulnerable to homelessness.

Cover page of Public Safety: Disarming Police in the United States

Public Safety: Disarming Police in the United States

(2020)

The paper discusses the armament of police in the United States. I will consider the reasons why disarmament is not a conversation in the United States. I identify that there is a problem in the United States when about 1000 people die every year due to being shot and killed by police officers. The issue of officers shooting civilians goes beyond just the general problem and is particularly an issue for communities of color and people with mental disabilities as there is a disproportionate number of deaths in both of these communities. I will also identify and discuss the policies of police in the United States and the lack of accountability of officers. I will analyze the police in other countries where they do not carry guns. Lastly, I will focus on ways of changing our current structure in a small manner so as to identify where a conversation can begin. These changes include the use of more non lethal weapons and improving officer training.

Cover page of Outcomes of National Jail Diversion Programs For Individuals With Mental Illnesses or Substance Use Disorders: A Comparison to the Criminal Justice System As Is

Outcomes of National Jail Diversion Programs For Individuals With Mental Illnesses or Substance Use Disorders: A Comparison to the Criminal Justice System As Is

(2020)

Deinstitutionalization funneled individuals with mental illnesses out of so-called asylums and into the streets with no treatment plan, medication, or access to care. Although initially it was just an easy way to reallocate government funding, it sparked a systemic change in which individuals with mental illnesses are now primarily treated by the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system does not effectively treat or rehabilitate these individuals and often does more harm than good, creating criminal sanctions, homelessness, negative medical and mental health outcomes, and isolation. As a solution, jurisdictions have begun implementing diversion programs. Two programs are implemented on a national basis: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and Crisis Intervention Teams International. In comparison to the criminal justice system and arrest and prosecution as is, these programs appear to have much more positive outcomes. They both have completely different structures with one similar goal in mind: find an alternative solution for individuals for whom jail will be detrimental to their mental and overall well-being. These programs divert individuals who have committed low-level crimes, who are acting out because of a mental illness or substance use disorder, or who are in crisis. Together, they provide an alternative to the criminal justice system that may thoroughly rehabilitate and treat individuals and remove them from the revolving door of recidivism.

Cover page of “Tomando Vuelo”: Uplifting and Understanding the State of Academia for Undocumented Central American Students

“Tomando Vuelo”: Uplifting and Understanding the State of Academia for Undocumented Central American Students

(2020)

Despite their growing numbers within the Los Angeles Unified School District, rarely are the academic struggles and barriers of Undocumented Central American students ever discussed. This study hopes to address the needs of undocumented Central American students as an important and urgent issue. Complexities tied to their identities, create a number of barriers that ultimately impede academic success and an eventual trajectory towards higher education. Employing an extended literature review, this study hopes to inspire schools and lawmakers to consider additional resources, support, and policy to better aid undocumented Central American Students.

Cover page of State Nursing Staffing Laws Related to Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

State Nursing Staffing Laws Related to Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

(2020)

High nurse to patient ratios have been problematic across the United States for nurse and patient outcomes. Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which calls for “adequate numbers” of staffing, is ill-defined leading states to act. This research analyzes the various nurse staffing models that strive to achieve better patient outcomes. How do various state nurse staffing laws in acute care settings correlate with health outcomes regarding hospital acquired infections (HAIs)? There has been much research on the impacts of this law over time within California, and the literature is promising. This research suggests favorable patient outcomes with nurse empowered and directed staffing plans for specific units compared to laws that strictly enforced ratios for all hospitals, at all times, and under all circumstances.

Cover page of A New Look at the US War on Drugs and the Colorblind Criminalization of Latinx Immigrants

A New Look at the US War on Drugs and the Colorblind Criminalization of Latinx Immigrants

(2019)

This paper examines the systemic racism operating behind the over-criminalization of the US immigration system, a relatively recent transformation occurring as a product of the War on Drugs. The unprecedented scale of deporting and detaining Latinx immigrants, in combinationwith the political effort to scapegoat this community as a “threat to national security,” shares commonalities with the heinous mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans.Both processes thrive on an artificial appearance of “colorblind” impartiality, as the War on Drugs has ensured that racial bias remains implicit, not explicit, in these policies. However, as the increasingly punitive immigration system has entangled itself with the criminal justice system, the distinctive pattern of anti-Latinx racism obscures from public consciousness. Inresponse, this paper attempts to weave a comprehensive narrative that contextualizes the myth behind the so-called “illegal immigrant.” It proceeds by analyzing and connecting works of literature discussing the changes in immigration law, public discourse, and foreign policy occurring at the intersection of the War on Drugs.

Cover page of Auditing Audits: Exploring the Connection Between State Punitiveness and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit Robustness

Auditing Audits: Exploring the Connection Between State Punitiveness and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit Robustness

(2019)

Sexual assault in prisons is a shameful phenomenon in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, over 200,000 individuals are sexually abused in confinement annually. In response to this human rights crisis, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003 with the intention of creating measures to protect inmates from this abuse. Since then, PREA standards for different types of confinement facilities were passed, auditing of facilities began, and changes regarding the auditing process were made as various shortcomingsbecame apparent. In prior research, I explored if PREA audit-related reforms were successful in resulting in higher quality prison audits than had previously been conducted (specifically, in Alabama). Disappointingly, I found that they were not and that Alabama’s audits were alarmingly inadequate. This led me to my present question, which seeks to uncover whetherincreased state punitiveness is correlated with decreased PREA audit robustness. Based on the auditor application and certification process, I hypothesize that a relationship between state punitiveness and audit robustness does not exist. To answer this question, I examine three audits from each of three different states that vary significantly in their supposed punitiveness. I explore five distinct factors that I believe are indicative of audit robustness and examine how each of the nine audits performs in relation to these factors. I find that, based on these measures, increasedstate punitiveness does not appear to be associated with decreased audit robustness.

Cover page of Racial Dynamics Among Clients in Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities

Racial Dynamics Among Clients in Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities

(2019)

Previous studies have outlined the importance of culturally competence practices, such as racial match between client and counselor and counselors’ knowledge of racial issues, for racial minorities who seek treatment for substance use disorders. Racial identities play a crucial role in defining social interactions in correctional facilities and homeless shelters, which have overlapping  population demographics with residents of residential facilities for publicly-funded substance use disorder treatments, suggesting that racial dynamics may also affect clients’ experiences in this setting. This study seeks to investigate the racial dynamics among clients in residential substance use treatment facilities by interviewing clients in a facility in South Los Angeles about their interracial interactions, perceptions of clients of race and ethnicity different from their own and discussing how racial dynamics might affect their progression and outcome with treatment. 9 semi-structured interviews with clients in a female-only residential facility were conducted. Based on analyses of transcribed interviews, clients recounted that racial differences do not play a significant role in their experiences in treatment, especially compared to the street environment or correctional facilities, although racial identities are salient in social group formation. Motivation to recover from addiction and other shared lived experiences facilitate interracial solidarities within the treatment setting. This study suggests that treatment facilities could take advantage of clients’ similar experiences and interracial solidarity to create a sense of connectedness and inclusion in treatment.