Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Complex Reality of Juveniles in Adult Prisons

I DON'T WISH NOBODY TO HAVE A LIFE LIKE MINE by David Chura

by David Chura, author of I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup(Beacon Press, 2011), Winner of the 2010 PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Reynaldo is surprised that he’s made it to another birthday. With so many of his friends killed by the streets, each new year startles him. But he’s not surprised to be locked up again. He’s spent every birthday since he was twelve with kids just like him—“punks,” “gangstas,” other children of disappointment. This time he’s been thrown into the harshest world of all, adult lockup.

Reynaldo is only one of the young people readers meet in I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup. This behind-the-scenes look at kids in prison, an environment that the Verna Institute of Justice describes as “unsafe, unhealthy, unproductive, inhumane,” is a collection of sharply drawn portraits of minors serving time in an adult penitentiary.

The young men and women I met during my ten years of teaching high school in a New York county adult facility were some of the most Continue reading

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