The Social Life Of Criminalized Young Men By Alice Goffman

705 Words 3 Pages
In chapter four, Alice Goffman analyzes how ones legal troubles are turned into personal resources to be used for one’s own gain. She describes how many young men find themselves using jail as safe havens from violent conflict back home. Normally, young men on 6th street find themselves running away from anyone resembling a police office, but do the direct opposite after a dice game turns into an upright neighborhood war. “I watched the remaining members of the 6th street boy gang get taken into custody… for quite minor probations and parole violations, or for bench warrants for not showing up in court…” (pg. 93). The author describes how the boys of the 6th street would manipulate their legal entanglements to then be taken into custody by …show more content…
By the time they are near the age of 18, most boys similar to the ones on 6th street will be spending their time in courtrooms instead of classrooms. The author describes how the criminal justice system becomes the central focus in many of these boys life in which they developed their social world on. “It is through their dealings with the police, the courts, the parole board, and the prisons that young men and those close to them work out who they are and who they are to each other” (pg. 107). The boy’s main learning environment is in the judicial system, a place where they build meaning social relationships …show more content…
Once a boy from 6th street has been processed in the juvenile system, they will likely spend the rest of their lives in youth detentions or adult facilities. Since, most of the boys’ time will be spent locked up, it is key events such as bail hearings and trial dates that a boy will formally see all the important people of his life together at one location. The author claims that it is at these public proceedings where “the members of a man’s social circle deduce where they stand in his life and where he stands in the eyes of those around him”. It is only during a man’s judicial dates, will he be able to experience such an important events. However, these meetings with his social circle, doesn’t always remain peaceful. For many, these court dates are the location where a women discovers her man’s mistress and uses this time to compete for his affection. Goffman highlights the effects criminalization can have on the social lives of these men from a young

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