Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mark Golub

Reader 2

Vanessa Tyson

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© 2015 Melissa D Krassenstein


As prison abolition has made its way into the dominant discussions about mass incarceration issues in the United States, it seems that the role of abolitionist movements in the juvenile justice system has been almost entirely absent. With prison abolition energies spent on adult incarceration, incarcerated juveniles are left with incremental policy reform that fails to address fundamental problems of juvenile detention facilities. Of the 54,000 incarcerated minors, black teenagers are arrested at five times the rate of white teenagers, and Latino teenagers are arrested two to three times the rate of white teenagers. This thesis asks the research question of whether or not prison abolitionist frameworks can be applied to the juvenile justice models in Los Angeles. Unless the abolitionist movement makes a presence in the juvenile reform efforts, the system will criminalize the childhoods of black and brown youth from low-income backgrounds and the pipeline from schools to juvenile detention centers to adult prisons will continue to perpetuate. There is a need for dreams and imagination in the abolitionist movement against the juvenile prison system in Los Angeles County. The push for a future utopian alternative system will abolish the juvenile detention center system and restructure models of rehabilitation that are specifically designed for targeted communities in Los Angeles.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.