Dispatches from Juvenile Hall: Fixing a Failing System

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A revolutionary book that offers a fresh, bold approach to confronting the juvenile crime epidemic With the rise of violent crimes committed by teenagers in recent years, heated discussion has arisen over the societal factors that lead to juvenile criminality and the ways that public institutions are failing to curtail them. Now a team of experts with decades of collective hands-on experience present a book that cuts through the hype and paranoia to offer real solutions. Drawing on actual case studies, Dispatches from Juvenile Hall shows how conventional ?tough on crime? tactics have only worsened the problem, and presents a new blueprint for change that incorporates punitive action, rehabilitation, and family intervention?a progressive program that will encourage and enlighten all those concerned about the future of our youth.
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About the author

John Aarons is a casework coordinator with the department of Youth Services in Lane County, Oregon. Previously he worked as a consultant for the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and his articles have been published in a number of sociology, psychology, and science journals.

Lisa Smith is the director of the department of Youth Services in Lane County, Oregon. She has worked in and with the juvenile justice system for many years. She is a frequent speaker on the subject of juvenile crime and lives in Oregon.

Linda Wagner has worked as the research and development coordinator in the department of Youth Services in Lane County, Oregon, for 20 years, tracking juvenile crime, measuring juvenile re-offense rates, and evaluating the impact of juvenile justice policy and system reform. She lives in Oregon.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Aug 25, 2009
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9781101138939
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Criminal Law / Juvenile Offenders
Social Science / Children's Studies
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A powerful, bracing and deeply spiritual look at intensely, troubled youth, Last Chance in Texas gives a stirring account of the way one remarkable prison rehabilitates its inmates.

While reporting on the juvenile court system, journalist John Hubner kept hearing about a facility in Texas that ran the most aggressive–and one of the most successful–treatment programs for violent young offenders in America. How was it possible, he wondered, that a state like Texas, famed for its hardcore attitude toward crime and punishment, could be leading the way in the rehabilitation of violent and troubled youth?

Now Hubner shares the surprising answers he found over months of unprecedented access to the Giddings State School, home to “the worst of the worst”: four hundred teenage lawbreakers convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated assault to murder. Hubner follows two of these youths–a boy and a girl–through harrowing group therapy sessions in which they, along with their fellow inmates, recount their crimes and the abuse they suffered as children. The key moment comes when the young offenders reenact these soul-shattering moments with other group members in cathartic outpourings of suffering and anger that lead, incredibly, to genuine remorse and the beginnings of true empathy . . . the first steps on the long road to redemption.

Cutting through the political platitudes surrounding the controversial issue of juvenile justice, Hubner lays bare the complex ties between abuse and violence. By turns wrenching and uplifting, Last Chance in Texas tells a profoundly moving story about the children who grow up to inflict on others the violence that they themselves have suffered. It is a story of horror and heartbreak, yet ultimately full of hope.
The tale of two American teenagers recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel, and the Mexican-American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unstoppable. “A hell of a story…undeniably gripping.” (The New York Times)

In this astonishing story, journalist Dan Slater recounts the unforgettable odyssey of Gabriel Cardona. At first glance, Gabriel is the poster-boy American teenager: athletic, bright, handsome, and charismatic. But the ghettos of Laredo, Texas—his border town—are full of smugglers and gangsters and patrolled by one of the largest law-enforcement complexes in the world. It isn’t long before Gabriel abandons his promising future for the allure of juvenile crime, which leads him across the river to Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel: Los Zetas. Friends from his childhood join him and eventually they catch the eye of the cartel’s leadership.

As the cartel wars spill over the border, Gabriel and his crew are sent to the States to work. But in Texas, the teen hit men encounter a Mexican-born homicide detective determined to keep cartel violence out of his adopted country. Detective Robert Garcia’s pursuit of the boys puts him face-to-face with the urgent consequences and new security threats of a drug war he sees as unwinnable.

In Wolf Boys, Slater takes readers on a harrowing, often brutal journey into the heart of the Mexican drug trade. Ultimately though, Wolf Boys is the intimate story of the lobos: teens turned into pawns for the cartels. A nonfiction thriller, it reads with the emotional clarity of a great novel, yet offers its revelations through extraordinary reporting.

Sixteen-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddard agreed to house sit for relatives on the weekend of September 22, 2006. It was something the teenager had done before…but this time something went terribly wrong. When the family returned home at the end of the weekend they found Cassie lying on their living room floor brutally stabbed to death.


Detectives focused on two of Cassie’s classmates who had briefly visited her on the night that she was murdered: Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper. Initially both boys denied any knowledge of the crime, but after two separate interrogations, Brian Draper told detectives a chilling story of murder straight out of a horror movie. The two boys were immediately arrested, and a shocking videotape was discovered that seemed to depict the two teens not only planning the cold-blooded murder, but celebrating it.


Community outrage was strong and immediate. The public demanded justice. But was the video actually what it appeared to be: a cold-blooded documentary that detailed the plotting of Cassie’s murder; or something else entirely? Could anyone uncover the truth in time and convince a jury that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be?


The Guilty Innocent is narrated by Shannon Adamcik, mother of Torey, one of the accused boys. It takes readers behind the scenes of a trial where prosecutors cared more about public opinion than truth, defense attorneys, who had never argued a murder case, were in over their heads, and a young boy’s life hung in the balance.



The United States is the only country in the world that will charge a juvenile as an adult and sentence them to life without parole. As the mother of one such child, I know exactly what happens when a juvenile is placed in adult court where they cannot defend themselves. They are immediately cut off from all human contact, locked in isolation, and railroaded through a justice system they simply cannot comprehend. Consequently, many of these juveniles are sentenced too much longer and harsher terms than their adult counterparts. I've personally lived through this, and I was compelled to write about it.


I began for the simple reason that I had lived through this horrendous ordeal and I ached for someone to confide in. But reliving the most painful part of my life was extraordinarily difficult. Ultimately the only reason that I was able to persevere was my deep belief that the story was important and needed to be told. That is still true.


This is a true story and no one can tell it better than the people who lived it. A crime reporter can look at the details of a case, but they cannot tell you how it feels to live through it. I can and I did. I used the pre-trial and trial transcripts, copies of the police reports, the autopsy and DNA reports, and DVD recordings of all of the evidence in the case. I've done copious research. But more importantly, I take readers step-by-step through what it feels like when your 16-year-old son is accused of first-degree murder; all the odds are stacked against him; and his defense is in the hands of attorneys you can’t fully trust to come through for you. 

Today's unfortunate reality, for millions of people, is that work is simply a have-to-do that pays the bills and gets in the way of doing what they really care about. This results in people becoming disengaged and disconnected from their organizations and colleagues. But what if employees could be made to see the big picture, the connection between their own efforts, and the success of their organizations? What if people could be made to feel a sense of purpose at work and to thereby become committed, sincere, loyal, and happy participants in a team effort?

Authors "Maryann Baumgarten" and "Lisa Smith" know that we all feel engaged when we care and connect to something larger than ourselves. They realize that even though so many of us see work as a time- and energy-sucking drain, a few shifts in organizational behavior and direction can turn that perspective on its head. Their new book, "#ENGAGE tweet: How Leaders Bring More Energy into Work and Life," contains 140 actionable pieces of wisdom that employers and senior managers can start using today to make people engaged and connected with their work and workplaces.

"#ENGAGE tweet" focuses on bringing clarity to the work environment by answering several fundamental questions. What needs are being fulfilled through work? Conversely, what needs are as yet unmet? How does any employee be made to feel more balanced and connected to their true motivations? Finally, how can any employee realize that they can indeed change their circumstances to make work engaging, meaningful, and fun?

For any employer who has grappled with the issue of discontentment at work, or for any employee who would like to turn around their workdays to make them pleasurable and meaningful, "#ENGAGE tweet" is an actionable book that will engage mind and spirit, to bring about positive realignment and empowerment.

"#ENGAGE tweet" is part of the THiNKaha series whose slim and handy books contain 140 well-thought-out quotes (tweets/ahas).

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