Activists, policymakers, and scholars in the US have called for policy reform and evidence-based efforts to decrease the number of people in jail and prison, improve hostile police–community relations, and rollback the "tough on crime" movement. Given that poor people, particularly poor people of color, make up the majority of those under carceral control in Western, industrial countries, can technical solutions, gradual reforms, and individual-level programming genuinely change the deeply entrenched carceral state that has been expanding in the US for over 40 years?
In this book, the authors offer an examination of the creative ideas that twelve US-based social justice organizations put forward for how participation in social change might spur not only individual-level change in young people, but community-wide mobilization against the harms resulting from the "tough on crime" movement and neoliberal policy. Using alternative programs grounded in political and social consciousness-raising, these organizations provide important and novel methods for how we might roll back carceral expansion. Their approaches resonate with scholarship in criminology and related fields; however, they sharply contrast with popular notions of "what works". The authors detail how community-based organizations must navigate not only these scientific forces, but the bureaucratic and financial ones consistent with neoliberal governance as well as the more formidable, less navigable political barriers that activate when organizations mobilize young people of color for social and carceral reform.
While aware of the formidable barriers they face, the authors highlight the emancipatory potential of community-based social justice organizations working with the most marginalized young people across several major US cities. Written in an accessible way, this book will be of interest to scholars, students, progressive policymakers, practitioners, and activists and their allies who are deeply troubled by the class and racial disparities that pervade the carceral state.
"Goddard and Myers are two of the most original academic activists working in the fields of youth and community. In this long-awaited book they examine the potential, the challenges and the enemies of alternative youth justice interventions aimed at raising individual and community consciousness of the relationships between poverty, racism and neoliberal carceralism. Like the US programmes Goddard and Myers describe, their acute analyses are revolutionary, timely and inspirational contributions to struggles for social and criminal justice."
Professor Pat Carlen, Open University, UK
"Youth, Community and the Struggle for Social Justice is a breathtakingly fresh and radical analysis…. without doubt (it)has set a very high standard for what ‘impactful’ research in the field of youth crime and justice studies can potentially look like."
Professor Jo Phoenix, Open University, British Journal of Criminology
2. Background, Context, and Description of the Social Justice Organizations
3. Source Reduction of Delinquency and Youth Violence
4. Navigating the Dilemmas of Funding and Reporting
5. Negotiating Neoliberal Governance and the Political Limits of Community
6. The Promise and Perils Faced: Grassroots Mobilizing and the Carceral State
Contemporary social scientific scholarship is being transformed by the challenges associated with the changing nature of, and responses to, questions of crime, security and justice across the globe. Traditional disciplinary boundaries in the social sciences are being disturbed and at times broken down by the emerging scholarly analysis of both the increasing merging of issues of ‘crime’ and ‘security’ and the unsettling of traditional notions of justice, rights and due process in an international political and cultural climate seemingly saturated by, and obsessed with, fear, insecurity and risk. This series showcases contemporary research studies, edited collections and works of original intellectual synthesis that contribute to this new body of scholarship both within the field of study of criminology and beyond to its connections with debates in the social sciences more broadly.