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(Re)Incarceration through Homes: Testimonios from Chicana/Latina Rebels

  • Author(s): Chavez, Joana
  • Advisor(s): Carpio, Genevieve
  • et al.

“(Re)Incarceration through Group Homes: Testimonios from Chicana/Latina Rebels” examines young women’s experiences of group homes—locked and staff secured facilities that offer youth mediated forms of freedoms in a liminal space between foster homes and juvenile hall. Through testimoninos of six young women and participant observation during my time as a Child Care Worker in one such home, I trace their journeys inside and outside correctional institutions. I focus on a facility in the California Inland Empire, a site the young women call the “middle of nowhere.” Through a historical, geographic, and critical gender lens, my thesis delves into how correctional facilities become what I call “corrective gendered spaces”—a corrective and gendered space for young women who are seen as delinquent and deviant. It focuses on four sections from the testimonios: Taken to the “Middle of Nowhere,” which highlights the process by which these young women are taken away from their loved ones and placed in a group home; Alone and Punished, which consists of their reflections of their experiences in the home; Corrective Space- Disciplined and Surveillance, which examines their daily activities and lives in the home; and finally Post-Group Home: Resistencia en el Corazon, which reveals what happened to these youth after they left placement and the major role the group home experience played in their lives. Together, this research pushes us to critically examine institutions that claim to have been “reformed,” but that nevertheless maintain the aim of capturing youth and incarcerating them. Most importantly, this work amplifies young women’s’ voices and, applying an abolitionist perspective, gives insight into the ways these young women envision freedom.

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