Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Matter How Loud I Shout

Humes' No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court explores a range of issues plaguing the juvenile justice system. Humes spent a year in a court system in LA county during the mid 90s, and this work chronicles a number of cases in depth, in addition to providing profiles of key players in the courtroom work group, including the prosecutor, a judge, and a defense attorney.

Humes' overall point is that the system is woefully inadequate in meeting the needs of troubled young people, letting many slip through the cracks (oddly, he blames this in part on the landmark Gault decision which give constitutional protections to juveniles); at the same time he faults the system for being impotent in its ability to sufficiently and severely punish cold blooded young murderers.

Although he mentions that more than half the cases seen in juvenile court never come back (ie, are possible success stories), and that two thirds of kids put on probation never commit another crime, his emphasis is on the failures of the system, and the need for more resources to be spent on intervening in the lives of young people.

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