Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Approximately 70,000 young people are in juvenile detention or correctional facilities each night."

As a part of the In the Margins committee, I knew that I would be reading books that were out of my comfort zone. My most recent read Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross is certainly one of those books. I work in an urban school and many of my students have been in the juvenile justice system at one point or another. My husband has also worked at three different juvenile detention facilities. I am not a stranger to teens who have been in custody. However, to read the facts and statistics about youth incarceration in this country and them put them together with the childrens' stories is a much different matter entirely.

Juvenile in Justice is a project Richard Ross embarked on, in his words, ". . . to give a voice to those with the least amount of authority in any U.S. confinement system." He went into juvenile detention centers and correctional facilities across the country and talked to and photographed the kids who were confined within. Each page is a picture of a child along with a quote about his or her circumstances. The stark design gives even more power to the words of these youth.

This book is unique in that the stories, photographs, and statistics are combined. Most people have no idea of the reality of the juvenile justice system in our country, but Richard Ross provides a glimpse into a world that everyone who cares about the future of the children of the United States should examine.