Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life

Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life : Crime-Engaged Youth and the Programs That Transform Them

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This is a story of crime-engaged youth who have been given a second chance. New York City teens are often faced with conditions that lead to poor education, deprived job opportunities, and a savage cycle of incarceration. But they are almost always faced with a choice. Teens from deprived neighborhoods face an arduous crossroad: should they a) walk the glamorous path of street culture, whose unlawful codas channels them towards fast money, instant gratification, and irretractable respect? Or b) make the steep climb through carceral traps, structural deprivation, and sometimes peer ridicule, in order to achieve legitimate success? This book is also the story of the non-profit community organizations that recognize the difficulty of this decision. To the many that are unfamiliar with New York's poorest neighborhoods, living a 'crime-free lifestyle' is an obvious and easy choice. According to this thinking, those who violate our legal codes should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, no matter the circumstances that led to their unlawful behavior. Throughout the city, there are a small number of alternative-to-incarceration programs designed to give crime-engaged youth a second chance to walk the path of legitimate success. They attempt to fill the void left behind by a poor opportunity structure. This book is a detailed ethnographic account of a select group of teens in New York City, the deprived conditions they face on a daily basis, and the alternative-to-incarceration programs that try to turn their lives around. Included will be the accounts of teens that faced the arduous crossroad and four programs that attempted to teach a set of skills necessary for a crime-free lifestyle: a set of skills that I call a social survival kit.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 162 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739150839
  • 9780739150832

Review quote

Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life uses rich data to illustrate the challenges facing youth in the most disadvantaged communities of New York City, and ways we can help them. Milton's vivid portrayals bring the youths' stories to life and offer compelling evidence about the importance of Alternative to Incarceration programs. -- Aaron Kupchik, University of Delaware While remaining very accessible to those outside the field of criminal law and criminal justice, Milton touches on a wide array of themes...Milton's text provides a clear and succinct contribution in what is otherwise a paucity of literature on criminological interventions. Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books Milton (sociology, SUNY College at Old Westbury) examines the use of alternatives to incarceration (ATI) programs for youthful offenders in the 'deprived dozen,' 12 of New York City's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. After describing how the evolution of the juvenile justice system has closely paralleled the evolution of the adult criminal justice system, with its shift in emphasis from rehabilitation to punishment, the author positions ATI programs as part of a larger community justice movement in the opposite direction. From his perspective, ATI programs are one way to provide young people with a social survival kit of tools they will need to avoid street life and pursue alternative paths. Based on his ethnographic fieldwork, Milton profiles four programs, each of which takes a somewhat different approach to keeping delinquent youth in the community and out of secure detention. Interwoven throughout are the stories of several program participants who experienced varying degrees of success... Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate collections; professionals. CHOICEshow more

About Trevor Milton

Trevor Milton is assistant professor of sociology at SUNY College at Old Westbury.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Prologue: Volatile Teens and the Social Survival Kit Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Juvenile Justice and Community Responsibility Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Adolescent Criminal Behavior and the use of Diversion Programs Chapter 4 Chapter 3: ATIs and the Deferred Sentence Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Masculinity and the Magnetism of the Streets Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Community Justice and the Reconstruction of Social Capital Chapter 7 Chapter 6: Antonio's Story: Warfare and Redemption Chapter 8 Chapter 7: Pedagogy of the Deprived: Program Support for Structural Deficiencies Chapter 9 Chapter 8: Disavowing Deprivation: Teens and Personal Responsibility Chapter 10 Chapter 9: The Survival Kit at Work Chapter 11 Epilogie: The Future of Juvenile Justice Reformshow more