Alice Goffman

How we're priming some kids for college — and others for prison

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In the United States, two institutions guide teenagers on the journey to adulthood: college and prison. Sociologist Alice Goffman spent six years in a troubled Philadelphia neighborhood and saw first-hand how teenagers of African-American and Latino backgrounds are funneled down the path to prison — sometimes starting with relatively minor infractions. In an impassioned talk she asks, "Why are we offering only handcuffs and jail time?"

About the speaker
Alice Goffman · Urban sociologist

Alice Goffman’s fieldwork in a struggling Philadelphia neighborhood sheds harsh light on a justice system that creates suspects rather than citizens.

Alice Goffman’s fieldwork in a struggling Philadelphia neighborhood sheds harsh light on a justice system that creates suspects rather than citizens.