Recovering Youths’ Voices
This concluding chapter explores the silences that hamper the recovery of voices and the writing of histories of young people, particularly of the young people of color confined to the California state institutions, and what happened to them before, during, and after institutionalization. Using the oral history of a formerly incarcerated Mexican American man, Frank Aguirre, the chapter explores the problems and possibilities in using oral histories to recover the histories of incarcerated youths and youths of color, many of whom now predominate in state-based juvenile justice systems across the United States. The chapter also explores what became of Frank Aguirre as well as other former reform school inmates once they left their respective reformatories. While many of the males ended up in city jails and state prisons in California and across the country, others married, formed families, and led productive lives, despite the odds against them.
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