Rios begins his work with a quote from French sociologist Michel Foucault: “In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating.” (Foucault 1995, 303) Explain how you see this playing out in Rios’s chapter. How is punishment akin to curing or educating? Based on your perspective and the interviews of the Black and Latinx young people presented in the chapter, what would make for non-punitive curing and educating?
According to Rio’s chapter, the inception of punishing a criminal may not necessarily be bad to him/her since it may help him/her be educated or cured of his wrongdoings. The punishment is in place to help in converting to be a better citizen and avoid crime. This hence shows that punishment of a criminal, just like in Michael Foucault’s quote, is almost similar to curing or educating, since they all serve the same reason of making a person better in the community. Non-punitive curing and educating, on the other hand, would ensure to correct or rehabilitate a person without necessarily having to punish them for their wrongdoings, such as serving jail term in their own homes, while being constantly monitored by the authorities.
Rios uses ethnographic methods, primarily ethnographic interviews, to conduct his study. Briefly define an ethnography and then summarize Rios’s research approach. In your summary, answer questions addressed in the second section of the chapter: Where does Rios conduct his research and why? What are his criteria for recruiting young people to interview?
Rio conducts his interviews among the Black and Latino young people. He conducts the interviews in San Francisco Bay Area from the year 2002 to the year 2005. His criteria for recruiting the people to interview included engaging those who have previously been into juvenile, mainly targeting the mi9noroty black and Latino persons. There was also use of a control group of 10 youths who previously had not been arrested but lived in the same area as past juveniles.
Rios appears to see a difference between criminalization (a term we learned about earlier in class alongside labeling theory) and hyper-criminalization. What is hyper-criminalization, according to Rios? Provide an example of how a Black or Latinx young person is hyper-criminalized based on one of the interviews.
According to Rio, hyper-criminalization involves further stigmatizing the Black and Latino Youths’ crimes, even when they have committed non-violent offenses. Based on the interviews, some youths who had committed minor offenses were treated the same as those who committed acts such as violence or assault. Based on the interviews, this treatment was almost similar where youths who had committed non-violent crimes were offered almost similar punishment to those who had committed major crimes.
Rios’s chapter highlights several criminology theories. Pick a theory you see playing out in action in this text. Define the theory and describe how it is operating in the community Rios studies.
One of the theories mentioned by Rio in his chapter is social learning theory. From the chapter, when non-violent youths go to juvenile homes, they tend to learn bad habits from other major criminals, whereas as a result, they end up engaging in bigger crimes once out of the juvenile. According to the theory, people engage in crime due to their association with others in such crimes.