Dr. Tracy Andrus (born September 26, 1962) is a criminologist who is recognized for the development of two crime theories—"Enviroecogenetics" and "Broke Theory." Andrus grew up during the African American Civil Rights Movement, an era that included Dr. Martin Luther King's marches, Malcolm X's "By Any Means Necessary" speech, and the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. He earned four college degrees and became the first African American in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in Juvenile Justice. After being sentenced to 57 years in prison for check kiting, Andrus spent only three years in the Louisiana and Texas Department of Corrections and was released in 1994. This started his interest in the criminal justice system. Dr. Andrus spends at least 20 weeks out of the year traveling abroad speaking to disadvantaged youth who are children of felons or have parents currently incarcerated in prison.
Andrus is a native of Crowley, Louisiana, and is the twelfth child of Alice V. Andrus and the late Warren Lee Andrus. Andrus grew up during an era when America was undergoing significant change in its political, economic, and racial landscape. He was in the third grade when schools in Louisiana were integrated, and racial assimilation led to very different views among the liberals and conservatives of the time. Tracy Andrus grew up at 315 Moore Ave in a home that was destroyed by fire when he was in kindergarten. He was active in sports throughout his early life, playing football, baseball and basketball. Tracy was also active in academic clubs in junior high and high school.
Andrus graduated from Crowley High School in 1981 with honors and attended Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, US, where he graduated in 2000 with a degree in Criminal Justice. He later graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2001 with a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. On May 7, 2005, Andrus completed his doctorate at Prairie View A&M University became the first African American in the US to earn a Ph.D. in Juvenile Justice. Dr. Andrus has been instrumental in developing the Enviroecogenetics Theory which focuses on environment, economics, and genetics as causes of crime causation.
Andrus is credited with developing two evolving theories on crime—Enviroecogenetics and Broke Theory—and is the author of three books: Beneath the Skin of Black Folks, From Prisoner to Ph.D., and Why Are So Many Black Folks In Jail?
Andrus' Enviroecogenetics theory suggests that criminal activity can be explained by analyzing three dominant variables:
- the environments in which individuals are raised,
- the economic status of individuals and their families, and
- the genetic makeup of individuals and their families.
Andrus suggests that individuals who are raised in low socioeconomic environments are predisposed to a greater extent to become engaged in criminal activity. According to Andrus, economics, specifically the lack of money, is the strongest predictor of an individual's likelihood to engage in criminal activity, whilst the reasons can be varied.
Andrus was elected President of the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice in 2008, and is an ordained minister and pastor of Edward Chapel MBC in Marshall, Texas. Tracy Andrus was elected Vice Chair of the Minority and Women Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences which is the largest criminal justice conference in the world.
Published by Createspace, Why Are So Many Black Folks In Jail? was released in December 2011 and raises questions about the functions of incarceration in the United States. As of June 2012, Andrus is a vocal advocate for African Americans and felons in the US. Tracy Andrus is also the author of Beneath the Skin of Black Folks, From Prisoner to PhD and a Macro Analysis of Poverty and African American Incarceration.
- Ahmar Mustikhan (16 June 2005). "Former convict earns a Ph.D.". Shreveport Times. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
Houston Chronicle... May 7, 2005 "PhD Earns Place In Black History"
Houston Chronicle..... 2003, The Man and His Message.
Tracy Andrus (2003)Beneath The Skin Of Black Folks - How Black Folks In America Really Feel. Northstar Press
Tracy Andrus (2005) Dissertation - A Macro Analysis of Poverty and African American Incarceration.
Create Space (2011) Why Are So Many Black Folks In Jail.
Tracy Andrus (2013) Ex-Felon Survival Guide
Tracy Andrus and Sonya Andrus (2011) Awarding and Evaluating Credit For Prior Learning
Andrus, T. (2004) Beneath the Skin of Black Folks