Crossing the Color Line into America’s Prisons: Volunteers of Color Reflect on Race and Identity in a College Service Learning Project

  • Jennifer R. Tilton
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


This chapter explores the distinctive dilemmas that volunteers of color face as they move across a new Jim Crow color line created by mass incarceration. College students of color make sense of race and come to understand their own racial identities through their work as volunteers in a Southern California juvenile hall where they come face-to-face with several interlocking racialized images of youth: the “teenage mother,” the “high school dropout,” and especially the “thug.” Exploring the diverse experiences of Black and Latino volunteers enables us to see the ways race, class, and gender create distinctive contours of the color line in twenty-first-century America and the ways the criminal justice system is reshaping our ideas about race.


Criminal Justice System White Student Racial Identity Juvenile Justice System Latino Youth 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer R. Tilton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RedlandsRedlandsUSA

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