This research seeks to answer the question of the influence that dropping out of high school has on a person’s tendency toward crime. Studies have shown that most persons who do not have a high school diploma are at an economic disadvantage compared to those who have finished high school. It has also been shown that many prisons have a high concentration of members who have not finished high school. This study will take questions to a group of inmates at a local prison as well as a group of high school students in the same area.
It will use questionnaires that contain items which attempt to probe issues concerning the criminal exposure of inmates during and after high school as well as that of current high school students. The results will be analyzed and correlated using graphs and charts in order to shed light on the influence that the lack of a high school diploma has on criminal activity. Introduction Several reasons have been cited by researchers to explain why students decide to drop out of high school. One of these reasons is a lack of adequate early-childhood preparation (Reynolds et al. , 2001).
Children who receive inadequate educational preparation in the early stages of their lives often find it difficult to grasp the concepts being taught at the high school levels. These children might also not have had proper exposure to the types of behaviors and study habits necessary for success in high school. These, and other problems associated with them, often lead to an inability to cope with the demands of the educational environment (2001). Lack of adequate financial support also plays a part in causing students to drop out of school (Ingrum, 2006; Reynolds et al., 2001).
It is often the case that students are unable to access the materials necessary for success in school due to lack of funds. Furthermore, poverty often drives students to seek jobs (or even less honorable ways of earning money) before their high school education officially ends. This often has also to do with a lack of appropriate emotional and family support, which often ebbs when finances are low. Furthermore, some parents of these students have hardly attained high school diplomas themselves and are therefore incapable of assisting these children with assignments (Sum et al., 2003).
Finally a lack of intellectual aptitude, which manifests in the form of learning disabilities, has been cited as having a significant part to play in prompting students to drop out of school (Ingrum, 2006). Schools are largely accommodating to those persons of average intelligence who have little or no endogenous difficulties learning. These students often find it particularly difficult to perform even the fundamental functions of education, such as reading and simple arithmetic. Many who do drop out are disadvantaged compared to their counterparts who possess diplomas.
These people are more likely to be unemployed, as employers for substantial and adequately paying jobs generally seek high school graduates. These persons are also more likely to be underemployed, as it is often difficult to find full time positions that seek to employ persons who have not completed high school. Because of these previously mentioned effects, high school dropouts are also more likely to be on welfare, and it has also been demonstrated that these persons are more likely to be incarcerated (Lochner & Moretti, 2003).
Many programs exist that center on the rehabilitation of dropouts because such persons are considered more likely to be desperate. The reality of being marginalized when it comes to eligibility for adequately paying jobs often drives persons toward feelings of low self worth and even toward such extreme measures as crime (Lochner & Moretti, 2003). It is often the case that persons who fall into this desperate category are those who have mental or physical challenges and who need the help of these programs (Ingrum, 2006).
However, a large proportion of them are considered more likely to have emotional/behavioral problems, and it is quite often members of this group of dropouts that show up in prison populations (Lochner & Moretti, 2003). Such persons are considered a drain on the government for several reasons, one of which is lost revenue from taxes. Persons who have no high school diploma are usually able to command lower wages or salaries than those who have graduated. This lower wage translates to a lower portion of income tax payable to the government.
Furthermore, these persons are often also on welfare, and the cost of these programs to the government increase with each person that benefits from it. The cost of prison programs is also significant to the government. Since, therefore, it is considered that the prison population contains a higher concentration of dropouts than the general population (Lochner & Moretti, 2003), it might be seen that high school dropouts contribute more on average to the drain on the government due to prison programs than do members of the general population. Hypothesis
Lack of education as demonstrated by dropping out of high-school leads to an increased likelihood of criminal arrests in young people. Methodology: variables and instrumentation The main instrument that will be used in this study is the questionnaire. This will be administered to 130 prison inmates from (NAME OF PRISON) in (NAME OF CITY & STATE) and 130 students of a high school in the same neighborhood. The questionnaire given to the inmates will consist of approximately 25-30 items that will deal with the level of high school education attained and arrests suffered by the inmate.
The participants will be given choices regarding their schooling, ranging from below eighth grade level (< 8) to below twelfth grade level (< 12). They will also be given a chance to indicate whether high school diplomas were received by the time they reached 18 years of age or after 18 years. The questionnaire will also contain items that deal with the inmates’ criminal history. Items will attempt to elicit information concerning the number of arrests participants have experienced. It will also distinguish between number of arrests and number of convictions. Participants will also provide information regarding the number of juvenile arrests and convictions they have had, as well as the length of the sentence(s) which they currently serve and/or have served in the past. The questionnaires for the students will include items concerning the students’ career goals, role models, access to homework help, and the difficulty of specific core classes or skills (Mathematics, English, and Reading). They will be asked to give their GPA’s. The students will also be asked questions about those they know who have dropped out of school. They will be asked how many of their friends or acquaintances dropped out in the different grades—ninth to twelfth, and ask to rate the degree to which these dropouts’ behaviors might be considered deviant. The students will also be asked whether they ever considered dropping out of school and whether they think they would. Finally, they will be asked questions concerning their exposure to weapons and people who commit crimes. The responses to the questions for both groups will all be presented on a Likert scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree. ” Interviews will also be sought with two or three of these inmates. The possibility of conducting an interview via the internet (instant messaging or voice programs) or via phone will be investigated. The interview questions will be more open ended, but will tend toward eliciting information concerning the inmates’ views on how they consider their lack of a high school diploma to have influenced their current situation. No interviews will be sought with the students.