Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Deborah Faye Carter

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda Perkins

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Dina C. Maramba

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Rachel Camacho


critical race theory, justice-impacted, Latinx, prison-to-college, school-to-prison, Spatial Justice

Subject Categories



Research and data have demonstrated the over-representation of youth of color in the criminal justice system and their disproportionate encounters with severe disciplinary and surveillance strategies at school and in their communities; however, our understanding of the educational trajectories of justice-impacted Latina/o/x students and how it is shaped by social-spatial contexts is lesser known. The purpose of this study is to address this research limitation by exploring the socio-spatial contexts that shape the educational experiences across the academic trajectories of former justice-impacted Latina/o/x youth. Using a qualitative, phenomenological approach, the data for this study were drawn from semi-structured, zoom interviews and education journey maps from 20 former justice-impacted Latinx students. The findings of this study show that socio-spatial inequities exist across the educational spectrum and adjacent systems. These (in)justices shape the racialized experiences of Latinx youth, their K-12 educational trajectory, and subsequently, their academic and occupational opportunities. Students’ perceptions of their schooling experiences indicate their acute awareness of the racial, gender and class disparities that exist across their zip codes, neighborhoods, and schools and consequently, the trauma they and their families endure in navigating the socio-spatial boundaries and barriers across their educational journeys. Their narratives and educational journey maps illustrate the impact of the use of carceral logic in disciplinary decisions both in school and in the community. These barriers speak to the deficit-approaches that permeate P-20 educational systems, institutionalized racism and geographical (in)opportunities that continue to perpetuate policies and practices that result in Latinx student push out from educational institutions to carceral systems. Student’s overcame these experiences by: 1) identifying cultural responsive teachers and classrooms along their educational journeys that affirmed their intersectional identities and voices; 2) transgressing the limitations placed on their potential by creating counter spaces in community-based organizations that affirmed their aspirations; 3) resisting the racial and spatial inequities by remaining engaged in their education and persisting to obtain their high school diplomas or GEDs; 4) employing their navigational skills to cross boundaries and 5) entering college and/or the work force to pursue their personal aspirations and goals. This study also addresses implications and recommendations for research, theory, policy, and practice that support the expansion of educational equity, dismantling of carcerality, centering students’ language, culture and intersectional identities and advancing spatial justice to increase educational access and opportunity for Latina/o/x youth across the educational spectrum.



Available for download on Wednesday, August 28, 2024