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Hidden Truth

Hidden Truth: Young Men Navigating Lives In and Out of Juvenile Prison

Adam D. Reich
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Hidden Truth
    Book Description:

    Hidden Truthtakes the reader inside a Rhode Island juvenile prison to explore broader questions of how poor, disenfranchised young men come to terms with masculinity and identity. Adam D. Reich, who worked with inmates to produce a newspaper, writes vividly and memorably about the young men he came to know, and in the process extends theories of masculinity, crime, and social reproduction into a provocative new paradigm. Reich suggests that young men's participation in crime constitutes a game through which they achieve "outsider masculinity." Once in prison these same youths are forced to reconcile their criminal practices with a new game and new "insider masculinity" enforced by guards and administrators.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94778-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. Introduction: Playing at Masculinity
    (pp. 1-42)

    It was a cold morning in February of 2001 when I first arrived at the Rhode Island Training School, the state’s only juvenile correctional facility. I was a sophomore at Brown University and had come with my friend Laura Rubin to propose starting a newspaper there. We had received the formal approval of the principal of the facility, in charge of educational programming, and of the unit manager of building five, the man in charge of supervising the postsecondary young men. Of course, the program would go nowhere without residents’ support. Five young men, all hand-selected by the unit manager,...

  6. PART I Outsider Masculinity

    • [PART I Introduction]
      (pp. 45-48)

      Home. Anthony was six years old when he got a haircut and saw, for the first time, a scar above his left ear. He asked his mom about it. She told him that his father had punched him in the head as an eleven-month old. Apparently he had been crying too loudly. Anthony learned that people who “are supposed to love you” don’t necessarily follow through.

      First grade. Anthony wrote his initials in finger-paint during class. He didn’t think twice about writing A.S.S. until he got sent home. Despite the teacher’s eventual apology, Anthony still had to serve his suspension....

    • CHAPTER ONE Outsider Masculinity and the Game of Outlaw
      (pp. 49-84)

      Luis was quiet at the beginning of our interview. He used words carefully and largely kept to himself in the barracks-like unit in which groups of twenty young men live together at the Training School. Terrence was one of his few friends in the facility, and it was at Terrence’s suggestion that Luis agreed to sit down with me at all. Luis was one of the more understated and deliberate young men with whom I had come into contact at the facility, and I was surprised by the way he answered me when I asked him to describe how he...

    • CHAPTER TWO Investment and Pure Critique
      (pp. 85-114)

      Joshua was part of the first group of writers I ever taught at the Training School, and another friend of Anthony’s and Jacob’s. A Latino from a small working-class neighborhood of Providence, Joshua cut an intimidating figure. He was barely younger than I was, about a hundred pounds heavier, and his long, disheveled curls and five-o’clock shadow made him look even more menacing. Joshua was also seething at the state that had locked him up on drug charges. In our premier issue ofHidden TREWTH,he wrote our cover story on the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)—...

  7. PART II Insider Masculinity

    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 117-120)

      Anthony was hedging his bets when Laura and I beganHidden TREWTHworkshops at the Training School. Brown University students had come and gone from the facility before, and most residents had learned how to sniff out inauthenticity from a mile away. I felt some pride that, by the publication of our first issue, I had become known as James and the Giant Peach—an effeminate white boy who reminded them of Roald Dahl’s zany children’s stories. I didn’t exactly command their respect, but at least I wasn’t pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

      When we began workshops in the...

    • CHAPTER THREE Insider Masculinity and the Game of Law
      (pp. 121-151)

      The Training School looks and feels like a mix between a high school and a prison. The school building and campus look like any number of Providence high schools, aside from the tall arched fence preventing escape. This appearance, however, belies a more fundamental confusion about the purposes of the facility—a confusion experienced by teachers, staff, and administrators alike. While rhetorically committed to the idea of “rehabilitation,” most adults working at the facility seem hardpressed to articulate what this means in the lives of young people, whether in their time at the facility or their time postrelease. This confusion...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Adapting to the Game of Law
      (pp. 152-170)

      Martin, a tall white resident with a loping stride, was one of the most enthusiastic participants in our firstHidden TREWTHworkshops. As I left after my first day, he took me aside and told me that he had been praying for a program like this. Yet Martin seemed enthusiastic about almost every program to arrive at the gates of the Training School. Having met “Pastor Mike,” a minister who led Bible studies for residents at the facility, Martin had been a quick convert. His behavior at the facility had been impeccable ever since, and he was quickly elevated to...

  8. PART III Critical Practice

    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 173-182)

      The bus lines in Rhode Island work fine for the spring and summer, when you can walk a few blocks without the chill getting into your blood. From November to February, though, if you can find a ride— any ride—you take it.

      That’s how Harmony wound up in my car with Laura and me on our way back to downtown Providence from a Training School performance in late 2001. She had been released from the women’s facility, half a mile down a dirt road from the Training School, only a week or so before the show but had been...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Hidden TREWTH and the Possibility of Critical Practice
      (pp. 183-205)

      The earliest issues ofHidden TREWTHdidn’t receive much attention from the Training School staff or administration. Maybe they didn’t read it. Or maybe they assumed that, given many programs’ short runs at the facility,Hidden TREWTHwasn’t worth complaining about. Some of residents’ boldest critiques of the juvenile correctional system and most profane language, then, were met with silence.

      This silence broke during our fourth issue, in January of 2002. Under a pseudonym, Richard had written a very short and simple piece titled, “Why,” in which he asked, “Why do we get treated like we do while we’re in...

    • CHAPTER SIX Alternative Space and Its Limits
      (pp. 206-222)

      Soon after the new year, in January of 2002, Anthony, Harmony, and a small group of other young people began aggressive distribution of our magazineMuzineoutside of high schools, at youth organizations, and at events.Muzinewas Broad Street Studio’s outside equivalent toHidden TREWTHand wasn’t subject to the administrative regulations of the Training School. Anthony, Harmony, and I had built it from the bottom up, from collecting articles and poems at local schools, to finding advertisers, to conducting interviews. Through AS220 we even found an old anarchist printer who trained us to help out with the printing....

  9. Conclusion: Critical Practice and Public Policy
    (pp. 223-242)

    I would like to be able to conclude with a clear public-policy agenda, a concise statement outlining what can be done to break the cycle of young men’s crime and incarceration. This same desire to tie up loose ends is perhaps what motivated me to spend the last several months of my time in Rhode Island working as a consultant for the state’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The Training School had been in legal trouble with the state for over twenty years, but juvenile justice reform was finally on the state’s agenda. With my colleague at Broad Street...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 243-250)
    (pp. 251-258)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 259-270)