Book Punished : Policing The Lives Of Black And Latino Boys Essay

Book Punished : Policing The Lives Of Black And Latino Boys Essay

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Victor Rios is a previous gang member, whom “was given the opportunity” to get out of the youth control complex. In his book “Punished”, he analyzes the experiences of young black and Latino boys in Oakland, California. Rios gives us an intimate description of some of the everyday forms of “hyper discrimination” these minority boys experience. This book review will focus on the main concepts explained in chapters one through three from the book Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys.
Chapter one focuses mainly on the patterns of punishment expressed on Black and Hispanic boys. He begins the chapter by describing a young Hispanic boy’s negative experiences on the streets of his neighborhood with the police as something that occurs daily. “This kind of interaction with the police was common in my observations…Only eleven of the one hundred and eighteen youth reported any positive experiences with police” (pg. 5). After shadowing these boy’s for three years, he found that the majority of these youth were experiencing the effects associated with stereotypes. Police in these neighborhoods stereotype these boys as being dangerous and ghetto because of their race or ethnicity.
Rios moves on to explain the components of the Criminalization process, and its direct effects on minority youth. In his observation of the boys, he finds that these boys are criminalized by many social forces besides the police. “I found that schools pushed out boys who had been victimized.” (pg. 6). Many boys feel that their school system blames them for crimes that have occurred in their area, or as a danger to other students in the classroom. These boys think that these experiences of victimization are part of their street life. Rios says that i...


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...xplanation of the different codes youth and the institutions criminalizing them perpetuate. Black and Hispanic youth are victims of the stereotypical “code of the street”, which racially profiles them as violent and dangerous members of society. “In Oakland, police officers encouraged young men to apply the code of the street in two main ways. First, officers purposely refused to provide protection. Second, the police diverted resources to policing youths who were easy targets in the public sphere and often ignored predatory criminal activity that happened right below the surface” (pg. 72). The encouragement to abide by this code by police, has allowed them to come up with a justification of their racially criminalized behavior. Rios highlights the importance of understanding the power social institutions have in using the code of the street to label margined youth.

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