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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 33 reviews
on April 26, 2015
For those who value youth and believe there is potential for a meaningful life in almost every child if given the opportunities to realize her or his best, Bernstein's book is a must. And for those who have concerns about how our society is measured and how resources are spent, this book is a must. For eight years Bernstein has thoroughly researched the issue of juvenile justice across the U.S. and reports on how this system, which is more than one hundred years old, has been failing youth over the decades in too many places and in horrifically inhumane ways and how some places have it right. Through case histories, studies, and statistics the reader is sensitized to the challenges and complexities children at risk, those who are incarcerated, and the professionals who serve them have faced and continue to face. Moreover, her analysis is hopeful: in 2015 we have the benefit of psychological, educational, and sociological research in adolescent development and brain science to make "the boutique programs [the programs that are effective] the status quo" and it could be, simply expressed but requiring a shift in attitude and culture, to base all programs on authentic relationships.
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on November 3, 2014
Great read, especially if you foster children or have children that have entered "the system". I've heard the author give an interview and that was how the book first came to my attention. This is not a textbook though, and if that's what you're looking for, you'll be disappointed. It is however well researched and documented and despite being so manages to communicate the authors passion and urgency for the subject. If it doesn't leave you wondering how on earth this happened, or why we all let it happen, and what the answer is for change and how we should differentiate actual dangerous young people from those who simply misbehave, there is something seriously wrong with you. I shared this with a Canadian friend who has spent a career in Juvenile facilities and he was appalled to hear some of the abuses and horrors that have gone on, through he doubted it was only an American problem. The one question we both kept coming back to was even if a child has committed a crime, even if they do actually need to face a punishment, if that child (who is still developing) is subsequently subjected to abuse-mentally, physically or sexually (a crime), is it any wonder they don't magically "rehabilitate"? The house does indeed need to be burned down.
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on June 3, 2017
I am the daughter of a retired police officer and the wife of a retired deputy sheriff. I drank from the kool-aid my entire life. I read this book many years ago and it put me on a path of discovery. It was a profound change in my outlook on law enforcement and criminal justice. Even if you are a "law and order" kind of person, I urge you to read this fabulous book.
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on October 25, 2014
This heart-turning expose is a must read for anyone for whom the concept of justice has any value or importance. It is a sad tale of institutional abuse and professional manipulation of public opinion that, though often inspiring justified tears, still gives hope. These are our children, and it is worth knowing what we have done and what we do to them.
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on November 19, 2014
Bit one sided, but well documented and I still love the book. She is definitely on the side of the youth, but it provides an importance voice for youth who are often punished by the criminal justice system when the system failed to protect them as children. Her book is quite timely with the recent attention on our correctional system and its ineffectiveness to provide rehabilitation. It does not address any difference between young men and women which would be another important area for research.
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on June 11, 2016
One of the best books I have ever read on this subject...ever. I recommend to people all the time.
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on July 13, 2016
Hard to describe the pain and anger felt just reading about the atrocities and crimes against humanity-- against children, of all people-- documented here. Evil is the only word for it. Unlike the children, where illegal actions are understandable given that they ARE children (brain development not complete until the 20's) and the backgrounds of abuse and neglect they come from, the discrimination they face, the actions of those responsible defy any hope for reform or excuse except a basic lack of humanity. Yet, the ones responsible are generally rewarded and praised, a blind eye turned to the torture of the most vulnerable members of our society.

This is something that I believe future generations will look back on in the way we look on the worst incidents of human history, asking each other how this could have been allowed to have happened, why decent people didn't storm the gates and bring down the walls themselves. The statistics and types of incidents the author cites are very well documented. The "Oh, this couldn't have happened..." and "Oh, she couldn't have been put there for THAT..." type of comments I've seen online are quite disturbing in themselves, that people would rather just stick their heads in the sand.
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on June 26, 2015
Well written and insightful, Ms. Bernstein makes a compelling case for a radical change in how we handle juvenile justice in this country.
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on February 9, 2017
Excellent book! As a teacher who works in a juvenile prison (WA) I'd recommend this for all employees in the system.
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on October 5, 2014
A startling, thorough expose of the crimes happening to our youth in the juvenile justice system. I haven't gotten all the way through it, but intend to finish it and educate others to work for change.
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