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Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (New Perspectives in Crime, Deviance, and Law) Paperback – June 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: New Perspectives in Crime, Deviance, and Law
  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (June 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814776388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814776384
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this compelling sociological narrative, Rios describes the problems facing black and Latino youth as they come of age. A former gang member who went on to earn a Ph.D. at Berkeley, Rios returned to his old Oakland neighborhood to shadow 40 young men as they dealt with poverty, violence, and institutionalized racism. As he recounts their life stories, Rios deftly balances analysis with vivid anecdotes about uninterested educators, struggling parents, police brutality, and gang victimization. From elementary school on, teachers and law enforcement mark these boys as "dangerous" or "difficult," and harshly punish them for petty infractions. Once they accumulate "negative credentials," the young men are subject to increased surveillance—and are consequently more likely to end up in prison. Rios terms this criminalization "the youth control complex," and explains how it systematically deprives boys of their dignity and their ability to succeed at school or in the job market. He examines how the culture of punishment pushes young men into the very criminality 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. (July)

Review

"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."
-,Publisher's Weekly



“As he recounts their life stories, Rios deftly balances analysis with vivid anecdotes about uninterested educators, struggling parents, police brutality, and gang victimization.”
-,Publisher's Weekly

"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



"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

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Great book for class.
Hector Martinez
Rio's "Punished" is an excellent book for academics and non-academics alike - which makes it great for students.
Heather V Zaykowski
Rios ablity to draw you into the story is eclectic and impressive.
SouthernCaliScholar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah F. Lustig on July 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Based on three years of research with 40 Black and Latino boys in Oakland, California, Victor Rios provides just the right blend of the boys' personal stories, his own critical analysis (and perspective as a former gang member from this community), and social science theory. He illuminates the processes of punitive social control that are taking place nation-wide, but focuses on the specific political-economic context of Oakland. His central claim is that the "youth control complex" systematically criminalizes young people; police harassment, while pervasive, is only part of the youth control complex. Families, schools, businesses, community centers, and probation officers, even while they are trying to help young people, are integrated into a web of punishment. As I read, I was caught up in the stories of the young men and gained new insight into their daily lives and struggles. Rios doesn't romanticize their lives or excuse their bad behavior, but he does show how limited their options are and how their efforts to turn their lives around are often undermined by the same individuals and institutions that are telling them to change. He shows that seemingly self-destructive behavior makes sense once we understand that the teens are striving for dignity, even when they know it will result in a loss of freedom. While all of the boys understand the processes of criminalization that enmesh them, some of them become activists protesting police brutality and mass incarceration. Rios ends on a hopeful note, calling for a "youth support complex" to nurture the great potential of the young people in our society who currently face not only enormous odds against them but also a system that is actively pushing them into criminality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Genung on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
A phenomenal scientific analysis of the social contexts surrounding "gang-associated" young men. The book reads well on many levels; a good account of social theory, yet easily read by a layperson. Rios balances deep narratives of the boys' lives with a larger understanding of the world around them. Although his 3 year study provides snapshots of the lives of young men in Oakland, CA, their stories are understood on a much broader scale of criminal justice and social reform.
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By Jocelyn on February 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Punished" is written beautifully!

This study, conducted by author Victor M. Rios, focuses on the institutional injustices faced by Black and Latino male youth. Although, as a minority, I was already aware of such injustices, Rios' work provided me with the vocabulary necessary to further comprehend "the system." Overall, my opinions were changed. I once dubbed my low-achieving, male peers as lazy wanna-be delinquents. After reading "Punished," I realized these boys are not to blame. There are so many outer forces prohibiting these boys from realizing their full potential.

Everyone should give this book a read! It'll definitely teach you something new.
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By CN on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had to read this book for my sociology class and I'm glad it's not one of those dry book. This book provide a lot of insight to the urban neighborhood. The author also skyped us on the last day of class which is really cool.
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Format: Paperback
As an educator, this book was informative and eye opening. Anyone who works with young people should read this book.
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