Critical Criminology, Culture of Control, Mas Incarceration

Reading Assignment 9

Critical Criminology, Culture of Control, Mass Incarceration

Introduction, Tammy L. Anderson /

Child Saving Movement in Illinois from The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency, Anthony M. Platt /

The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration, Victor Rios /

Reforming Education Through Crime from Governing through Crime, Jonathan Simon /

Connections: The Social Control of Youth across Institutional Spheres, Aaron Kupchik, Critical Thinking Questions /

Answer two questions:

1.  Platt provides an historical analysis of the Child-Saving Movement in Illinois at the turn of the last century. Certainly the movement represents a very important philosophy of reform, culminating in the Juvenile Court Act of 1899.  The legislation established the first juvenile court with specific jurisdiction over “dependent, neglected, and delinquent children.”  Platt underlines the ambiguity of this significant reform effort, arguing that it represented a relatively conservative, middle class consolidation of political interests and NOT a radical departure from the philosophy of social control.  Discuss the three conclusions of the article (p. 405) which expose the conservative bias of the legislation.  In particular, just how “critical” can reform efforts be in the face of political conflict among community interest groups?

2.   In the Introduction Anderson argues that throughout the twentieth century up to the present day, the juvenile justice system struggles to balance human treatment of children (e.g., those neglected and abused) with issues of social control of especially violent youth. Imagine that you are a politician charged with developing legislation to reform the current juvenile justice system.  Using any or all of the readings in this assignment as your sources, give a summary of your reform recommendations, specifically addressing any two of these issues: “the school-to-prison pipeline” (Kupchik); the idea of “governance through crime” (Simon) in which social institutions as well as mass media advocate punitive policies at schools in an attempt to enforce safety standards and manage threats; the continuing “hypercriminalization” of Black and Latino male youth.

  1. 3.   Critical criminology is founded upon the observation that criminal justice reflects the same biases evident throughout society with respect to discrimination and racism, as well as economic and social vulnerabilities of dispossessed groups. This is especially the case when considering minority youth experience.  Following Simon, Kupchik (pp. 432-436) maintains that contemporary society “governs through crime”-especially in the management of school conduct as a response to mass murders on campus.  Explain why Kupchik feels that schools are in fact less safe, largely because of negative social consequences of social control mechanisms.     

Critical Criminology, Culture of Control, Mas Incarceration

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