Trapped in a Vice (Paperback)

The Consequences of Confinement for Young People (Critical Issues in Crime and Society)

By Alexandra Cox

Rutgers University Press, 9780813570464, 234pp.

Publication Date: January 30, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (1/30/2018)

List Price: 31.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Trapped in a Vice explores the consequences of a juvenile justice system that is aimed at promoting change in the lives of young people, yet ultimately relies upon tools and strategies that enmesh them in a system that they struggle to move beyond. The system, rather than the crimes themselves, is the vice. Trapped in a Vice explores the lives of the young people and adults in the criminal justice system, revealing the ways that they struggle to manage the expectations of that system; these stories from the ground level of the justice system demonstrate the complex exchange of policy and practice.  

About the Author

ALEXANDRA COX is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Essex in Colchester, England.  

Praise For Trapped in a Vice: The Consequences of Confinement for Young People (Critical Issues in Crime and Society)

"Cox provides important and compelling insights about young people involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and about these systems themselves.Trapped in a Vice is a significant contribution to the field, filled with unique and comprehensive knowledge."

— Jamie Fader

"Trapped in a Vice is an excellent piece of scholarship from start to finish. Cox weaves together stories, policy data, and literature in a seamless fashion to expose the paradox of 'ungovernable' children. This brilliant, well written work is guaranteed to become a landmark piece in the field."

— Laura Abrams

"Alexandra Cox's Trapped in a Vice will deepen the juvenile justice reform discussion. Fundamental to her work is an argument that is essential as it is true: reform must be broader than moving juveniles from adult prisons to juvenile prisons and rehabilitation efforts must have outcomes that extend beyond the walls of incarceration."

— Reginald Dwayne Betts

— Gates Cambridge


— NYN Media

— The Page 99 Test

— Campaign for the American Reader

— Adirondack Daily Enterprise

"Alexandra Cox’s Trapped in a Vice: The Consequences of Con?nement for Young People is a profound piece of scholarship with the potential to rattle the ?eld of youth justice."

— Critical Criminology

— Press Republican

— Adirondack Daily Enterprise

— New Books in Sociology Podcast

— Sun Community News

— Lake Placid News

— Black and Highly Dangerous Podcasr

"An insightful, original examination, rich with details of the often confounding details of troubled young peoples’ lives, of the challenges and difficulties of constructively intervening in these lives."

— Journal of Community Corrections

— Jacobin

— The Elm

— Abolition

"Written in an accessible, graceful style, and grounded in rich, hard-won data from the ground-level, Trapped in a Vice will be of great interest to a wide-range of punishment and society scholars, and it is required reading for juvenile justice researchers, policy makers, and advocates for reform."

— Crime and Punishment

"An important book...Trapped in a Vice is a reminder that human existence is contingent, inherently contradictory, and fragile. This insight, while obvious, has been forgotten as the system tries to fit children into a simplistic mould of evidence-based interventions. More than anything, Trapped in a Vice is a cautionary tale for anyone who believes that solutions for inherently complex social problems are easy to come by."

— The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice

"Trapped in a Vice: The Consequences of Confinement for Young People illustrates the problematic nature that is imprisoning youth and the issues with which the juvenile justice system currently operates. As such, it breaks new ground for researchers focusing on the development of offending and responses to offenders."

— Journal of Youth and Adolescence

"This book is an extraordinary piece of social science research." 

— American Journal of Sociology

"[Cox] applies a strong sociological viewpoint, rooted in Foucault, to the story of juvenile justice-a view that is lacking in other texts. This theoretical strength comes through in how Cox relates her rich stories to larger discourses of neo-liberal control. Importantly, Cox addresses racial disparities head on as part of the larger picture of who is seen as 'worthy' and redeemable and who it not....[The book] is an important piece to read and ponder in the current wave of reform."

— Social Forces

"A beautifully crafted book."

— Social Justice

"Trapped in a Vice is likely to be of interest to a number of audiences. Students and scholars of juvenile justice, the sociology of punishment, youth, and inequality will appreciate the deeply human stories of the youth trapped in this system."

— Theoretical Criminology