Based on two years of intensive research in a juvenile prison, this study tells the story of youths in a "model program," created after a class action lawsuit for inhumane and illegal practices. It captures their lives inside and outside of prison: from drugs, gangs and criminal behaviour to the realities of families, schools and neighbourhoods. Drawing on experience that encompasses 20 years of juvenile justice research and policy analysis, the authors scrutinize the prison's attempts to combine accountability and treatment for youths with protection for the public, situating these within the larger social and political context.
PrefaceFear, Political Symbolism Going Inside the Prison One: The Impetus and Hope for Change Negotiating a Consent Decree and Envisioning a New Era The Model Program: Responsibilities, Rights, and Respect The Model Program's Essential Elements Surpassing Old Debates, Transforming Power Relations Two: Collective and Individual Identities: Who are these Prisoners, These Kids? Identity and Imprisonment: "Lots of Us Inside These Walls" Interactions and Interpretations Life on the Streets: Friendship, Loyalties, Protection, Economics The Perpetual Specter of Drugs Offense Histories and Risk to Public Safety Contextualizing their Offenses Never Children, Still Children Three: The Program's Early Success and Eventual Demise The Early Days of Intense Effort, Initial Triumph Responsibility and Shared Decision Making Holding the World in Abeyance Disinterest, Reluctant Participation The Program's Demise: A Dream Diminished Perpetual Change, Ineffective Treatment Groups Further Component Limitations "Doing the Program": Variation Among Youths Four: Political Opposition, Bureaucratic Inertia, and Individual Inadequacies Unilateral Decision Making and Lack of Accountability Perceptions of Inconsistency and Lack of Fairness Violating the Spirit of the Program Organizational Impediments, Bureaucratic Inertia Limited Sphere of Influence Political Imperatives and Impediments Five: "Going Home" "When I Get Out..." The Ubiquitous Influence of Drugs Make New Friends, But... "You Can't Take It Back" Social and Economic Realities: Poverty, Unemployment, Dead Ends Ever After Six: Conclusion The Power and Futility of Prison Fences