My paper stems out of my book project, titled Street Children, Crime, and Punishment, which examines the lived experiences of the street children and youth who were incarcerated in adult jails and correctional institutions in post-World War II Puerto Rico. Children and youth in jails and correctional schools suffered from overcrowding, lack of sanitation, poor hygiene, insufficient food, prolonged solitary confinement, physical abuse, and sexual violence. They were imprisoned without due process and housed in underfunded and poorly staffed institutions that lacked basic educational and rehabilitation programs. Scholars recognize the post-World War II era as a time of economic growth, industrialization, urbanization, and social mobility in Puerto Rico. However, the lives of working class and poor children have been omitted from national narratives of progress. At its core, this project explores the penal system from the perspective of those who bore the brunt of it: street children and incarcerated youth.
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