Monday, February 11, 2013

Juvenile in Justice

Juvenile in Justice
This photographic journal was selected by YALSA as a best adult book for teens. It shows young people in juvenile detention facilities all across the U.S. If this book doesn't convince a person to stay out of prison, I don't know what will.

The pictures are accompanied by the words of the kids shown. They are lonely, dispirited, and adrift. The facilities are, without exception, devoid of cheer and anything remotely able to be fashioned into a sharp weapon. Even the food is colorless and has nothing that requires cutting with a knife. There are few if any books, posters, or anything to relieve the bland walls.

The faces of the kids are sometimes blurred or cropped out of the pictures but the ones where they cover their faces with their hands, shirts, or sheets seem even more full of shame and despair. The facts about juvenile detention systems are horrifying. For instance, Ross says that the city of Oakland spends $4,945 per student in school compared to $224,712 per person per year in their newest facility.

Ross' goal in publishing this book is to illustrate the uselessness and horrors of incarcerating teens and young people. No alternative programs are shown to offset the wrongness of these detention systems.  It is my hope that a young person reading this book will do everything humanly possible to stay out of such a place.

My rating for this book

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