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NCJ Number: 206575 Find in a Library
Title: Keeping Quiet or Going Nuts: Strategies Used by Young Black Men in Custody
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:43  Issue:3  Dated:July 2004  Pages:317-330
Author(s): David Wilson
Editor(s): Frances Crook
Date Published: July 2004
Page Count: 14
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article presents the results of interviews with numerous young Black men imprisoned in three young offender institutions in England and Wales who were given a voice about what it means to them to be young, Black, and in custody and the strategy they employed while incarcerated, called “the Game.”
Abstract: It is suggested that if you were to walk into one of the young offender institutions in the southeast of England today, you would likely observe the prison officer and governors to be almost exclusively White, while almost half of the imprisoned young men will be from ethnic minorities, the majority of whom will be African or Caribbean descent. Past research has found that the overrepresentation of African people in custody has been seen as a product of the multiplier effect of institutional racism in operational policing, through the process of caution, prosecution, remand, and bail decisions to sentencing options. This article presents findings from an ethnographic study of 45 young Black men in 3 young offender institutions in England and Wales and gives these offenders a voice about being young, Black, and in custody. All the interviewees in this research were 16 or 17 years of age. In the interviews, two themes emerged: “Keeping Quiet” and “Going Nuts.” Both of these themes are aspects of “the Game.” These themes form a basis for understanding how these young Black men attempt to deal with the reality of their incarceration and should be viewed as part of the strategy- “the Game.” Two dimensions of “the Game” are “Keeping Quiet” and “Going Nuts.” In “Keeping Quiet”, the offender doesn’t get aggressive, but knows his boundaries; this element of “the Game” dominates. “Keeping Quiet” dominates their response to prison life and involves them supporting and sustaining each other through the realities of incarceration. “Going Nuts” is when an offender controls his anger. No matter how successfully they could play “the Game,” none of the interviewees wanted to be in prison. References
Main Term(s): Inmates
Index Term(s): Black juvenile delinquents; Black/African Americans; England; Incarceration; Juvenile inmates; Minorities; Minority overrepresentation; United Kingdom (UK); Wales
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