Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison

Front Cover
New Press, The, Jun 3, 2014 - Law - 384 pages
9 Reviews
When teenagers scuffle during a basketball game, they are typically benched. But when Will got into it on the court, he and his rival were sprayed in the face at close range by a chemical similar to Mace, denied a shower for twenty-four hours, and then locked in solitary confinement for a month.

One in three American children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that defy everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults.

Bernstein introduces us to youth across the nation who have suffered violence and psychological torture at the hands of the state. She presents these youths all as fully realized people, not victims. As they describe in their own voices their fight to maintain their humanity and protect their individuality in environments that would deny both, these young people offer a hopeful alternative to the doomed effort to reform a system that should only be dismantled.

Burning Down the House is a clarion call to shut down our nation’s brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons and bring our children home.
  

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Review: Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison

User Review  - Cindy Garza - Goodreads

The house is not much burned down, which makes this book very hard to read. Based on interviews of the author, I'd expected this to be a much more positive story about successful reform, but there's ... Read full review

Review: Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison

User Review  - Rachel Blom - Goodreads

Wow. Talk about a book that opens your eyes. I never knew how much suffering goes on in juvenile prisons, but after reading this book I know more than I may have wanted. It's a well researched ... Read full review

Contents

Prelude
1
Introduction
5
1 inside Juvenile Prison
21
2 Birth of An Abomination
38
3 Other Peoples Children
52
4 The Rise of the SuperPredator
71
5 The Fist and The Boot
81
6 An Open Secret
103
9 The Things They Carry
181
10 A New Wave of Reform
201
11 A Better Mousetrap
224
12 Only Connect
254
13 Connection In Action
274
14 The Real Recidivism Problem
290
15 Against Reform
307
Acknowledgments
321

7 The Hole
129
8 Hurt People Hurt People
151
Notes
325
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Nell Bernstein is a former Soros Justice Media Fellow, a winner of a White House Champion of Change award, and the author of All Alone in the World. Her articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives outside Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic information