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This unique analysis of the rise of the juvenile justice system from the nineteenth to twentieth centuries uses one of the harshest states - California - as a case study for examining racism in the treatment of incarcerated young people of color. Using rich new untapped archives, States of Delinquency is the first book to explore the experiences of young Mexican Americans, African Americans, and ethnic Euro-Americans in California correctional facilities including Whittier State School for Boys and the Preston School of Industry. Miroslava Chavez-Garcia examines the ideologies and practices used by state institutions as they began to replace families and communities in punishing youth, and explores the application of science and pseudo-scientific research in the disproportionate classification of youths of color as degenerate. She also shows how these boys and girls, and their families, resisted increasingly harsh treatment and various kinds of abuse, including sterilization.
Miroslava Chavez-Garcia is Associate Professor of Chicano/a Studies at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s.