Born into abject poverty in Haiti, young Jim St. Germain moved to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, into an overcrowded apartment with his family. He quickly adapted to street life and began stealing, dealing drugs, and growing increasingly indifferent to despair and violence. By the time he was arrested for dealing crack cocaine, he had been handcuffed more than a dozen times. At the age of fifteen the walls of the system were closing around him.
But instead of prison, St. Germain was placed in "Boys Town," a nonsecure detention facility designed for rehabilitation. Surrounded by mentors and positive male authority who enforced a system based on structure and privileges rather than intimidation and punishment, St. Germain slowly found his way, eventually getting his GED and graduating from college. Then he made the bravest decision of his life: to live, as an adult, in the projects where he had lost himself, and to work to reform the way the criminal justice system treats at-risk youth.
A Stone of Hope is more than an incredible coming-of-age story; told with a degree of candor that requires the deepest courage, it is also a rallying cry. No one is who they are going to be—or capable of being—at sixteen. St. Germain is living proof of this. He contends that we must work to build a world in which we do not give up on a swath of the next generation.
Passionate, eloquent, and timely, illustrated with photographs throughout, A Stone of Hope is an inspiring challenge for every American, and is certain to spark debate nationwide.
Sentenced to spend the next four years there, every day was a struggle against disease, freezing temperatures, malnutrition, the unpredictable, sometimes terrifying behaviour of the camp guards and his fellow prisoners.But, most of all, it was a fight to ensure his own psychological survival.
Only the thought of his girlfriend Lucy, fighting Russia's corrupt and labyrinthine legal system, kept Tig sane - and gave him a reason to see each day to its end.
The English Prisoner is an extraordinary story of endurance, as one man - plucked from his normal, everyday life - is forced to reach deep inside himself to survive life in one of the bleakest outposts in the world: Russia's vast and unforgiving 'forgotten zone'.