Recidivism, risk, and resiliency among North American Indian parolees and former prisoners: an examination of the Lumbee First Nation.

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Angell, G. Brent, and G. Mark Jones. “Recidivism, risk, and resiliency among North American Indian parolees and former prisoners: an examination of the Lumbee First Nation.” Journal of ethnic & cultural diversity in social work 12.2 (2003): 61-77.


The authors examine cultural affiliation as a protective factor for Lumbee Indians, compared to non-natives, against re-arrest following release from prison.

They begin by surveying the literature on the Lumbee to identify cultural factors that provide resilience.  They briefly discuss Lumbee self-sufficiency, Christian belief system, belief in the supernatural (particularly conjurers), assertion of their Native American identity, devotion to the Lumbee homeland, strong family and friendship bonds, and Gerald Sider’s articulation of Lumbee ethnogenesis.

For their study, the authors examined statistical data from the North Carolina Department of Corrections that gives background variables on all prisoners released between July 1, 1992 and June 30, 1993.  The data includes race and county of residence as well as method of release. The authors studied recidivism, defined as any fingerprinted (i.e., felony) re-arrest within 30-42 months.  They analyzed data on 147 Lumbee parolees and 291 non-Lumbee parolees whose county of residence was listed as Robeson, Hoke, or Scotland.

The study’s findings included the following:

  • Significantly fewer Lumbees than non-Lumbees were re-arrested for violent crimes (5% vs. 9%) and drug offenses (8% vs. 12%)
  • Slightly fewer Lumbees than non-Lumbees had graduated from high school
  • More Lumbees than non-Lumbees (30% vs. 21%) were arrested for property crimes

The authors present a case illustration of a female Lumbee parolee who had been imprisoned for drug possession.  They describe the support and encouragement she received, after release, from her grandmother and from a Lumbee elder who is a conjurer.

In conclusion, the authors assert that social workers and criminal justice professionals “must be open to the ways in which the Lumbee define family and be willing to include significant others in the design and implementation of protection-building care plans” (p. 75).

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