Each year approximately 100,000 Americans are victims of nonfatal firearm injury at least 75% of this population are survivors of intentional firearm violence. Homicide, specifically via gun violence, is the leading cause of death and disability in the US among young Black males (ages 15-34). Structural violence, specifically, the impact of mass incarceration, mass probation and its collateral consequences on young Black men amounts to a social death for thousands disfranchised by the mark of a felony record many for non-violent offenses. Approximately 2.3 Americans are incarcerated in US prisons and jails and 40% of the incarcerated population are Black despite representing only 13% of the US residents. Additionally, 4.5 million US residents are on probation and parole. It is expected that one out of three young Black men will be incarcerated at some point in their lifetimes. Gun violence and mass incarceration not only contribute to early mortality and social death among this population, they also impose significant physiological and mental health trauma across the life-course. My talk will discuss the intersection of the gun violence, mass incarceration and trauma among violently injured young Black men and the ways structural and interpersonal affects their lives. The presentation will use digital storytelling narratives taken from my digital storytelling project Life After the Gunshot to humanize and illuminate structural and interpersonal violence in the lives of 10 young Black male survivors of gun violence and mass incarceration in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The conclusion of my talk will propose viable solutions to address the epidemic of structural and interpersonal violence in the US.
Dr. Joseph Richardson, Jr. is the Joel and Kim Feller Professor of African-American Studies and Anthropology and a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is the Executive Director of the Translational Research and Applied Violence Intervention Lab (TRAVAIL) an interdisciplinary violence research lab that uses a translational science approach to address gun violence and trauma. Dr. Richardson’s work focuses primarily on the intersection of the healthcare and criminal justice systems among young Black male survivors of nonfatal violent firearm injury in Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. He is the Executive Producer of the digital storytelling project Life After the Gunshot which documents the lives of 10 young Black male survivors of gun violence. He is also the Co-Founder and former Director of the Capital Region Violence Intervention Program, a hospital-based violence intervention program at the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center.