Synopses & Reviews
Victor Rios grew up in the ghetto of Oakland, California in the 1980s and 90s. A former gang member and juvenile delinquent, Rios managed to escape the bleak outcome of many of his friends and earned a PhD at Berkeley and returned to his hometown to study how inner city young Latino and African American boys develop their sense of self in the midst of crime and intense policing. Punished
examines the difficult lives of these young men, who now face punitive policies in their schools, communities, and a world where they are constantly policed and stigmatized.
Rios followed a group of forty delinquent Black and Latino boys for three years. These boys found themselves in a vicious cycle, caught in a spiral of punishment and incarceration as they were harassed, profiled, watched, and disciplined at young ages, even before they had committed any crimes, eventually leading many of them to fulfill the destiny expected of them. But beyond a fatalistic account of these marginalized young men, Rios finds that the very system that criminalizes them and limits their opportunities, sparks resistance and a raised consciousness that motivates some to transform their lives and become productive citizens. Ultimately, he argues that by understanding the lives of the young men who are criminalized and pipelined through the criminal justice system, we can begin to develop empathic solutions which support these young men in their development and to eliminate the culture of punishment that has become an overbearing part of their everyday lives.
"This is a well overdue and important contribution to our understanding of urban street youth and gangs. Rios turns the table on traditional gang researchers by showing how the process of criminalization and the youth control complex is biased against young boys of color."-Diego Vigil,author of The Projects: Gang and Non-Gang Families in East Los Angeles
"In this compelling sociological narrative, Rios describes the problems facing black and Latino youth as they come age . . . He examines how the culture of punishment pushes young men into the very criminatlity that the punishment is meant to deter, and makes a compelling argument that better financed social programs and positive reinforcement could make all the difference."
“As he recounts their life stories, Rios deftly balances analysis with vivid anecdotes about uninterested educators, struggling parents, police brutality, and gang victimization.”
"With Punished, Rios joins an expanding cadre of social scientists who lament the directions that juvenile justice has taken in the United States in recent decades. He argues that in an era when the Unites States has achieved world-record levels of incarceration, of you people as well as adults, the widespread adoption of severe, hastily adopted get-tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and 1990s has gone hand in hand with the vilification and persecution of black and Latino youths."
-Peter Monaghan,The Chronicle Review
“Auerbach and Silverstein write at a level that can be understood by beginners but is sophisticated enough for scholars . . . informative and interesting.” -Choice,
"Rios provides numerous conceptual innovations, noted below in italics, that should soon find their way into all of our introductory, deviance, and race/ethnicity texts."-Robert Garot,American Journal of Sociology
About the Author
Victor M. Rios is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.