Boys' zone stories: perspectives from a young men's prison

Earle, Rod (2011). Boys' zone stories: perspectives from a young men's prison. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 11(2) pp. 129–143.



This paper explores aspects of young men’s gender identities as they serve time in an English Young Offender Institution. Based on qualitative research, the paper discusses three dimensions of the way the young men talk about their lives, inside and outside prison. It is argued that the evocation of a specific condition of being ‘on road’ is linked to forms of youthful masculine collectivity, ‘my boys’, which valorise pre-modern forms of martial masculinity. These two themes converge in the pre-eminence of ‘postcode pride’, the salience of ‘the local’ in the young men’s accounts of themselves. These aspects of the young men’s experience are explored with reference to other recent research findings on young men’s experience of ‘gang’ activity and living on the social margins.

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