Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. G. Pritchy Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Third Advisor

Dr. Donna Keenan

Fourth Advisor

Dr. David Fenner

Department Chair

Dr. John Venn

College Dean

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten


This study was designed to explore the influences, experiences, and disparate life choices of eight African American males from the Jacksonville's Pre-trial Detention Center and the U.S. Navy. The focus of this project was on the choices made by the participants and possible reasons for those choices. Specifically, the research question for this study is "How do some African American males from Jacksonville's Pre-trial Detention Center and the Navy describe their life experiences and the influences of these experiences on their choices?''

The framework for this project was a cross-case and cross-site study. The sites were the Jacksonville Pre-trial Detention Center and the Navy. There were four participants from the Jacksonville Pre-trial Detention Center and four from the Navy. The research yielded some interesting results.

All of the participants took full responsibility for their choices. At no time did any of these young men blame anyone but themselves for the bad decisions they made. Additionally, they did not verbalize that the race and gender of their teachers were factors in their educational experience.

Finally, there was no specific point at which the participants had a choice that resulted in their diverging from productive citizenship. What emerged from the research were factors, which in their aggregate, resulted in the decisions of the participants. The factors were parental control and resiliency. The participants from the Pre-trial Detention Center lacked many resiliency factors, which those from the Navy enjoyed. Whereas the home life of the participants from the Navy had the element of parental control, the home life of those from the Pre-trial Detention Center did not.