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Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall Paperback – March 15, 2012
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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
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.
Top customer reviews
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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. By the time I got to this book, I expected great things and I was not disappointed. I highly recommend it as well as the other two.
I was lucky to receive a copy of this book from the author. I almost wish I hadn't because of the possibility that readers will think my review is so positive because I got something free. I would be gushing just as much about this book even if I'd spent my own hard-earned dollars for it. I'm an unabashed fan.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Due to the sensitive nature of the topics approached within Lankford's work, an honest review is both...Read more