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 - 01/02/2012Library 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
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.