"You gotta care" : hearing the stories of previously incarcerated youth in community college

Previously incarcerated youth (PIY) are hyper-marginalized by intersectional patterns of marginalization processes enacted within public institutions, often beginning within schools, yet little is known about their experiences within higher education. The purpose of this study was to explore the academic, social, and emotional experiences of PIY within a community college setting with the intentional purpose of improving practice within community college systems. This study utilized a case-study design and a phenomenological approach to explore the experiences of five students at CBA who identified as PIY. Data for this study was drawn from interviews, observations, field notes, and student classwork. The key findings were categorized into three major themes: School-Prison Nexus, Residue o f the School-Prison Nexus to Higher Education, and Academic Reengagement. Findings suggest that understanding how these students perceive their schooling is imperative for creating community colleges better suited to meet the needs of this growing population. Recommendations emphasize authentic care, providing intentional professional development for staff, faculty, and administration, wrap-around services, and the abolishment of the carceral state.