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Alaska Native Juveniles in Detention: A Qualitative Study of Treatment and Resistance

This in-depth study of a juvenile institution in Alaska explores the issues of power, resistance, treatment, and culture. Based on original research it seeks to establish the mediated place of culture, in this case of Alaska Native cultures, within the examination and assessment of the workings of the institution


“This is a scholarly study of the highest order. Banks not only identifies institutional logics, many of which are indifferent to cultural differences, but how they may be, and are challenged in everyday practices. Forms of resistance are often centered in appropriation of treatment language. Possibilities of empowerment, and potential release, are both enhanced through the use of a counter discourse. Banks’ insightful study offers support for creating alternative “correctional” practices that are embedded in the recognition of differences. This certainly demands a rethinking of conventional wisdom that realizes over 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S.” – Prof. Dragan Milovanovic, Northeastern Illinois University

“By ‘giving youth a voice’, [this book] challenges the traditional theories and methods typical in the study and investigation of youthful deviance and its control. Attending to and hearing what youth have to say about their incarceration, the staff and their cultural histories, enables Dr. Banks to problematize state and academic discourses concerning the aetiology and amelioration of juvenile deviance.” – Prof. Bryan R. Hogeveen, University of Alberta

“In the context of ‘what works’, Cyndi Banks makes a wholly original and fascinating contribution. Understanding experiences of power, resistance, culture and treatment in an institutional context is of major importance to policy-makers and practitioners. [This work] is likely to become essential reading for the creators of ‘criminal justice’ and for people who work with young people in such institutions.” – Prof. Loraine Gelsthorpe, University of Cambridge

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Foreword by Dragan Milovanovic
Introduction: “Waiting for the Outs”
1. The Institution and Juvenile Crime in Alaska
2. Cultural Narratives
3. Power and Resistance
4. ‘This is an Angry Place’: Narratives of Resistance
5. Doing Treatment: ‘Treatment-Wise’, ‘Thinking Errors’ and ‘Losing Trust’
6. Culture and Language of Treatment