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Caught UpGirls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration$
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Jerry Flores

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284876

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284876.001.0001

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Life behind Bars

Life behind Bars

Chapter:
(p.52) Chapter 2 Life behind Bars
Source:
Caught Up
Author(s):

Jerry Flores

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520284876.003.0003

In this and other American detention centers, violence is ubiquitous, a central part of life behind bars. Most research in this area focuses on the violence that takes place among fellow inmates (Davis, 2003). My time observing the girls at El Valle suggests the behavior of the correctional staff contributes to violence and fighting in secure detention. In the following chapter, I demonstrate how this institution and its staff promote problematic behaviors (like fighting) and create an atmosphere where these behaviors are necessary. Encouraging these actions might help keep girls safe in detention, but it ultimately further entrenches these young women in the El Valle–Legacy Community School cycle and the larger criminal justice system, contrary to the stated goals of wraparound services. Most of the young people in this study were initially arrested for nonviolent, drug-related offenses, but they earned more time in secure confinement because of fighting. In other words, girls began participating in violent behavior after entering El Valle juvenile detention center.

Keywords:   Prisons, Ethnography, Gender and Incarceration, Institutional Violence, Latina/os Behind Bars

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