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Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall Paperback – March 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly
In this candid arrangement of text, interviews, photographs, and hand-written responses, photojournalist Lankford completes her award-winning trilogy (Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time and downTown U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless) exploring America s marginalized denizens, here revealing the chilling emotional landscape of children housed at San Diego s Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility temporary home to 5,000 juvenile criminals. Lankford and her daughter, Polly, visit the Hall over a one-year period, refracting their discoveries though the lenses of juvenile legal professionals, psychiatrists, and academic literature. Their quest unearths a collective legacy of addiction and abuse that drives children to drugs, gangs, and violence. Disputing the notion that delinquents are beyond repair, Lankford argues that most inmates can transform their traumatic histories into productive maturity if sustained by just one good enough adult. Questionnaires and interpretations of artwork, published in the inmates raw penmanship, convey nuanced perspectives of dreary inevitability, level-headed insightfulness, and hope. Lankford s earnestness is on display in her humanizing conversations with a handful of girls, including the game-talking yet vulnerable Hui and the unguarded Sands. Lankford delivers a compassionate if occasionally repetitive call to action, providing practical recommendations for assimilating at-risk minors before they become adult criminals. (Mar.) ----Publishers Weekly - 01/02/2012

Library Journal
This book is the third in photojournalist and activist Lankford's series of books on troubled lives, following Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time and downTown U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless. She embedded herself in a California youth detention facility for a year and gathered this compilation of recorded conversations with young teens incarcerated there, photographs of their environment, and drawings and writings in their original, unpolished script. In various chapters, these teens discuss the roots of their behavior, reflect on their present condition, and share their outlook on the future, which includes strains of hope and promise. Lankford, along with practicing psychiatrists, the facility's caretaking staff, and her college-age daughter, provides commentary on the teens' stories. The book concludes with ideas for solutions to the problems that transcend the institutional setting, such as parenting education, specific programs and services, and other educational initiatives that can better help juvenile offenders. VERDICT More policy-oriented than academic in tone, this book is recommended for specialized juvenile justice collections and libraries holding the other two volumes in the series. Though government austerity is in vogue, this book is a powerful reminder of the social costs of neglecting the specific needs of at-risk youth.- Antoinette Brinkman, Evansville, IN

Susan Lankford's Born, Not Raised spotlights the raw stories of children traumatized by neglect, abuse, and poverty. Working with outside professionals, Lankford exposes an overburdened juvenile justice system while offering powerful tools for change. ----Dave Pelzer, Author of the New York Times bestsellers A Man Named Dave, The Lost Boy, and A Child Called "It"

If juvenile judges could have access to the writings, photographs, and stories of the kids [Lankford] has met, juvenile court would be much more rehabilitative. -- --Judge Irene Sullivan, Author of Raised by the Courts: One Judge s Insight into Juvenile Justice

Susan Lankford's Born, Not Raised spotlights the raw stories of children traumatized by neglect, abuse, and poverty. Work --Judge Irene Sullivan, Author of Raised by the Courts: One Judge s Insight into Juvenile Justice

Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall received the Mom's Choice Awards - Gold Medal for Adult Non-fiction --Mom's Choice Awards

If juvenile judges could have access to the writings, photographs, and stories of the kids [Lankford] has met, juvenile court would be much more rehabilitative. ----Judge Irene Sullivan, Author of Raised by the Courts: One Judge s Insight into Juvenile Justice

About the Author

Susan Madden Lankford earned a B.S. in medical technology from the University of Nebraska, did graduate work in photography, and attended workshops with photographic masters such as Ansel Adams and Richard Misrach. After years as a successful professional photographer, Lankford shifted her focus and founded Humane Exposures, which seeks to turn public indifference to at-risk members of society into humane awareness and response. Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time was the first in her trilogy of award-winning books, followed by downtown U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless and Born, Not Raised. Lankford also executive-produced the film It s More Expensive to Do Nothing, which offers effective alternatives to current juvenile incarceration practices.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Humane Exposures Publishing, LLC (March 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979236630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979236631
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In the early 1990s, Susan Madden Lankford began photographing--and befriending--the homeless on the streets of downtown San Diego. Compelled to learn more, she gained access to a women's detention center and soon was shooting within its walls, speaking with candor with inmates and staff. Next, pursuing the link between crime and childhood neglect, she met with young people in juvenile hall, challenging them to face their hopes and fears through artwork and the written word.

Lankford's award-winning books on homelessness, incarceration, and juvenile justice are testament to many years of commitment to complex social issues. Her venture in the realm of documentary film continues this work.

Susan Lankford grew up in the Midwest and holds a BS degree from the University of Nebraska. She attended Ansel Adams' prestigious workshops, studied under such photographic masters as Richard Misrach and Ruth Bernhard, and spent many years as a successful wildlife photographer and portraitist. The parents of three adult daughters, Susan and Rob Lankford live in San Diego.

Her three award-winning books: MAGGOTS IN MY SWEET POTATOES: Women Doing Time, DOWNTOWN U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless, and BORN, NOT RAISED: Voices from Juvenile Hall.

To find out more about Susan Lankford, or to purchase her books, please visit Humane Exposures Publishing at: www.humaneexposures.com or join us on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/HumaneExposuresPublishing

"Lankford's leadership and work help us all to identify the emotional and psychological cycles that pass from generation to generation". --Dave Pelzer, NY Times Bestselling author, A Child Called

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Just My Op on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book and the two others of the trilogy, Maggots in my Sweet Potatoes and DownTown U.S.A, should be required reading for anyone who knows people, judges people, cares about, pities or disdains people, those people being the marginalized of our society.

In this newest book, Susan and daughter Polly tackle the prickly problem of teens who are living in Juvenile Hall, essentially prison for children. Ms. Lankford's photography is astounding. Her writing is beautiful. But most importantly, she lets the people she and Polly interview speak for themselves.

She has asked some of these teens to write stories or write about themselves or answer questionnaires. That she printed the actual written responses made these writings all the more powerful. Poor penmanship (I can relate), bad grammar, misspellings, even the occasional i dotted with little a circle as so many teen girls do, but lots and lots of heart and honesty. Violence, heartbreak, hardened shells hiding broken children, it's all there for the reading.

Unlike the other books, this one does not have photos of the children interviewed because despite the horrible things some of them have done, they are still children. The photos in the book, both those taken by Ms. Lankford and those taken by others and used for children to write about, are perfect.

This trilogy is so full of compassion and understanding without crossing that treacherous line into being maudlin. The author doesn't excuse the behavior but explains it. When I read the first book, Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes, about incarcerated women, I was very impressed but I doubted Ms. Lankford's ability to live up to that first book. Silly me. The second, DownTown U.S.A., affected me even more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DawgSavr on May 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Born, Not Raised provides a disturbing front row seat into the lives of juvenile offenders through a compilation of writings and conversations with children detained in juvenile hall. Broken families, poverty, substance abuse, neglect and abuse all play a role in the lives of these children. A complex problem without an easy solution run by a flawed juvenile justice system. The book was compelling, shocking and I couldn't put it down! A must read for every parent, educator and concerned citizen.
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Format: Paperback
I'm gonna need about a hundred more copies of this book. As a person who is currently transitioning from being a Chemical Dependency Social Worker to being a Children's Mental Health Social Worker, I found it incredibly timely and useful for me to receive this book at this time. The insight into the contributing factors and developmental arrests that lead to juvenile incarceration and dependency on the system was remarkable. The sadness the reader feels as discovering the thoughts and dreams, however stunted, these kids have chosen to share is heartbreaking. One can tell that just by listening to these kids, the author and her daughter have made a difference in their lives, which just goes to show how needy these kids are and how little it would really take to help them be successful. Unfortunately in our society, enough importance is not placed here, where it should be. Politicians pay a lot of lip service to "children are our future" but then funnel the dollars to back up that statement every other place possible. This book would go a long way to raise awareness if every elected leader would just read it.
The only, tiny thing I could possibly take issue with is that there is not enough prescriptive at the end towards what can be done to fix the system. I realize this isn't a handbook for providers, and that the intent is to raise awareness, but I think even a layperson could use a little more information about how the needs of these children could be met.
Overall, a very important book that everyone, in the field or not, should read. It should inspire you to become a Kinship Partner or a Big Brother/Big Sister at the very least.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Susan Madden Lankford earned herself access to the inside of these facilities, to bring about more awareness. Her black and white photography emphasizes the loneliness and the pain of being inside them. To make it even more emotional, she includes reactions and handwritten notes from the some of the incarcerated kids. Your heartstrings are tugged as you realize how confusing it is for them and how they struggle to find the right kind of help. She also includes interviews with some of the kids, as well as many of the professionals who work with them.

Many of these kids have great potential, which Lankford attempts to highlight as she includes their stories and essays written as sort of assignments. On the flipside, many of these kids are depressed and feel that they will never be able to change their lives. They have been conditioned to believe there is no hope. When they are released from Juvey, they often end up going right back to the place from which they came and those problems rear their ugly heads all over again. It becomes an endless cycle.

Lankford also spends some time discussing these children with other professionals, such as psychologists. They discuss the impacts of the family situations, based on current psychological research. It really is a sobering picture.

Questions are asked that demand answers. What those answers are, you will not not find in this book. Instead, this feels like a call to action for both the juvenile halls and society in general.

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my review.
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