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Falling Back

Incarceration and Transitions to Adulthood among Urban Youth
Jamie J. Fader (Author)
278 pages, 6 x 9
Paper, April 2013 $30.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, April 2013 $78.00   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, April 2013 $30.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, April 2013 $30.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Series: Critical Issues in Crime and Society
Subject Area:
Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Law, Sociology
Winner of the 2016 Michael J. Hindelang Award from the American Society of Criminology (ASC)

Winner of the 2016 Outstanding Book for the Academy of Criminal Justice Science (ACJS)

Received an Honorable Mention for the American Sociological Association Race, Gender and Class Section's 2014 Distinguished Book Award

Named a 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title


Jamie J. Fader documents the transition to adulthood for a particularly vulnerable population: young inner-city men of color who have, by the age of eighteen, already been imprisoned. How, she asks, do such precariously situated youth become adult men? What are the sources of change in their lives?

Falling Back
is based on over three years of ethnographic research with black and Latino males on the cusp of adulthood and incarcerated at a rural reform school designed to address “criminal thinking errors” among juvenile drug offenders. Fader observed these young men as they transitioned back to their urban Philadelphia neighborhoods, resuming their daily lives and struggling to adopt adult masculine roles. This in-depth ethnographic approach allowed her to portray the complexities of human decision-making as these men strove to “fall back,” or avoid reoffending, and become productive adults. Her work makes a unique contribution to sociological understandings of the transitions to adulthood, urban social inequality, prisoner reentry, and desistance from offending.


"With Falling Back, Fader offers a subtle blending of structural analysis and cultural attentiveness, highlighting the performative and transactional dimensions of both reform school and street life. This is an elegant and important book, one that will significantly shape future scholarship on youth, delinquency, race, and ethnicity."
—Jeff Ferrell, author of Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti and the Politics of Criminality

"Exceptionally reflexive, ethnographically rich, and theoretically compelling."
—Victor M. Rios, City & Community

"This important, powerful story of young black men demonstrates that even the best intentions cannot help overcome the realities of segregation, racism, and poverty in a society with too few jobs."
—Stephen Richards, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

"Falling Back explores the role of incarceration in young men's transition to adulthood by folliwing 15 black and Latino young men over three years as they prepare for and adjust to their release from a reform school."
—American Journal of Sociology

"An insightful critique of a Pennsylvania reform school for delinquents and the difficulties encountered when these young men re-enter the community. Fader’s book has an important story to tell because it should be acknowledged that
someone who lives and works in these white spaces can often play a larger role initiating a discussion for policy change and suggestions for improvement. Fader’s book provides an important addition to the literature."
—Contemporary Sociology

Author / Editor Bio

JAMIE J. FADER is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Table Of Contents


1. No Love for the Brothers: Youth Incarceration and Reentry in Philadelphia
2. "Because That Is the Way You Are": Predictions of Failure and Cultural Assaults Inside Mountain Ridge Academy
3. "You Can Take Me Outta the 'Hood, But You Can't Take the 'Hood Outta Me": The Experience of "Reform" at Mountain Ridge Academy
4. "Nothing's Changed but Me": Reintegration Plans Meet the Inner City
5. "I'm Not a Mama's Boy, I'm My Own Boy": Employment, Hustling, and Adulthood
6. "I Just Wanna See a Part of Me That's Never Been Bad": Family, Fatherhood, and Further Offending
7. "I'm Finally Becoming the Person I Always Wanted to Be": Masculine Identity, Social Support, and Falling Back
8. "I Got Some Unfinished Business": Fictions of Success at Mountain Ridge Academy's Graduation Ceremony



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