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Boy With A Knife: A Story of Murder, Remorse, and a Prisoner's Fight for Justice Paperback – April 26, 2016
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"Books like Jean Trounstine’s Boy With A Knife are urgently needed. Through the gripping story of Karter Reed, Trounstine argues passionately that locking up youth in adult prisons is cruel but sadly not unusual punishment. Reed stands for all the kids whose lives have been stunted, if not broken, by the failed policies of tough on crime,” and he is one of the survivors. Through more than 100 letters, he taught herand her book teaches usto demand a more just criminal justice system."Nell Bernstein, author of Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison and All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated
This is Karter Reed’s story. Reading it, you walk away with how a boy with a knife becomes a man whose future and past are hinged on the life that he has taken. The system is horrific, but the system is just the backdrop. Because what Jean Trounstine reveals in Boy With A Knife is partly what happens between the moment that two lives end and, much later, when one begins again. If there is a shadow that this book casts over readers, it is Karter’s regret. And in the end, that is the lesson worth remembering.”Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of Bastards of the Reagan Era
"Boy With A Knife does for Karter Kane Reed what the media, policy makers, even advocates have failed to for decadesnamely, tell the stories of those who have been imprisoned, how they got there, what happened to them, and even why. Jean Trounstine tells Karter's story with warmth, with complexity, with nuance, framing a critical contemporary debate with a very, very human face."Nancy Gertner, former U.S. federal judge, named one of The Most Influential Lawyers of the Past 25 Years” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
"Jean Trounstine has delivered a searing wake-up call about the need to reform and redeem our juvenile justice system. Sentencing children as adults is neither productive nor morally sound, and the tale of Karter Kane Reed exemplifies that truth."Shon Hopwood, author of Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption
"Boy with a Knife is a masterful narrative rooted in the tragedy of a life lost and another launched into a complex journey of transformation. It is a must read for teachers and students, advocates and policy-makers, parents and youth on the meaning of justice."Robert Kinscherff, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, and the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior of Massachusetts General
"In this vivid account of how inhumane it is to act as if youths are adults when it comes to crime (although hardly in anything else), Jean Trounstine has made the case: These laws and practices must end. With meticulous research, Trounstine mirrors what I’ve seen in U.S. prisons for over 35 years as a speaker and workshop facilitator, when I also witnessed the increasing number of troubled youth being thrown away, abused, and in too many cases, prepared as higher-end criminals, all at taxpayers’ expense. Read this and take action. Anybody can change. Anybody can be saved. It’s time our laws and justice systems aligned to this moral and biological fact."Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times.
"Gripping and important, Trounstine's real-life account about a boy thrust into an adult prison unfolds in heart-shattering drama. Written with deep compassion and grace, Trounstine brilliantly proves that people canand dochangeand so, too, can the system. A must-read for anyone who cares about justice and forgivenessand that should be all of us."Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
"Boy With A Knife is a devastatingly detailed indictment of a criminal justice system that routinely sends youth to adult jails and prisons, yet it's a story infused with much needed hope. A must read for anyone interested in criminal justice reform."TJ Parsell,author of Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison
"Through Boy With a Knife Jean Trounstine has opened a window into the disaster of American juvenile justice. The story of Karter Kane Reed serves not only as a cautionary tale of what can happen to kids who commit serious crimes, but of how American juvenile justice policies actually hamper rehabilitation and the correction of flawed character. Hands down this book is certain to be a top criminal justice read for 2016. Also certain is that Trounstine will leave her readers with deeply personal questions about how best to deal with juvenile justice."Chris Zoukis, award-winning incarcerated writer and author of College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons.
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Top Customer Reviews
A lot of you were very deeply connected to Jason, and maybe, just maybe, it would be healing to hear how much crushing regret Karter Reed carries with him. Does he deserve it, absolutely. But as a father of a 16 year old, I can tell you right now that he does not make rash decisions. He makes most of them while in the throes of emotion. When he's in his 30's, I'm betting that he'll have developed much better skills with decision making, as ALL of us do as we get older. I'm not asking people to forgive or forget what he did, but just remember that he was a 16 year old kid who made a horrific decision. He's been judged by a jury of his peers, he's served 20 years in some of the worst prisons in New England and he's judged once again as he tries to live his life by giving back and talking to thousands of kids about how he ruined so many lives and how he hopes his story, Jason's story, can maybe stop it from happening somewhere else.
The "Boy With A Knife" is Karter Reed, a 16 year old Caucasian boy, who is charged with first-degree murder of an unarmed student,Jason Robinson, 16, in a high school classroom. In 1993,despite his age, Karter is tried and convicted of second degree murder as an adult and sent to prison for life, with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
This important book explores the importance of accepting scientific evidence that developmentally, teenagers are not adults. During the teen years and early twenties, they will continue to mature psychologically, physically, and socially. Imprisoned youth need placement in the juvenile system, which include the benefits of educational and therapy programs and none of the risks of being exposed to the adult prison population.
This is a highly inspirational book! Karter Reed is a bright, persevering young man. He is unrelenting in educating himself and seeking outstanding individuals, including Jean Trounstine and Richard Neumeier, the lawyer who finally got Karter released on parole. I highly recommend this book.