[UCP Books]: Human Targets

“Critically urgent. . . Human Targets is a must-read book.”
Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted



Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth


Publication date: March 27, 2017 978-0-226-09099-3
International publication date: March 27, 2017 $20.00/£15.00


When Victor Rios was fifteen, he found himself at a crossroads: escalate a drug turf war or eke out a living elsewhere. Or, to put it more bluntly: live or die. With well-timed luck, he fell in with a teacher who hooked him up with a job at an autoshop. The job changed his life, setting him on a path to college and eventually his Ph.D. Now, Rios is a rising star who studies youth just like his fifteen-year-old self—kids who face impossible decisions.

In Human Targets, Rios takes us to the streets of California to follow young gang members into schools, homes, community organizations, and detention facilities. We watch them interact with police, grow up to become fathers, land jobs, get rap sheets—and in some cases get killed. What is it that sets apart young people like Rios who succeed and survive from the ones who don’t? Rios makes a powerful case that the traditional good kid/bad kid, street kid/decent kid dichotomy is much too simplistic, arguing instead that authorities and institutions help create these identities—and that they can play an instrumental role in providing young people with the resources for shifting between roles.

“Gripping, disturbing, and deeply moving.”—Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street


Victor M. Rios is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys and Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D.


Please contact Ashley Pierce at (773) 702-0279 or apierce@uchicago.edu for more information.


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