All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $10.19   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   


In this "moving condemnation of the U.S. penal system and its effect on families" (Parents’ Press), award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein takes an intimate look at parents and children—over two million of them—torn apart by our current incarceration policy. Described as "meticulously reported and sensitively written" by Salon, the book is "brimming with compelling case studies … and recommendations for change" (Orlando Sentinel); Our Weekly Los Angeles calls it "a must-read for lawmakers as well as for lawbreakers."
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An urgent invitation to care for all children as our own."
—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Author of Random Family

"In terms of elegance, breadth and persuasiveness, All Alone in the World deserves to be placed alongside other classics of the genre such as Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities, Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. But to praise the book's considerable literary or sociological merit seems beside the point. This book belongs not only on shelves but also in the hands of judges and lawmakers."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Serious, moving, and well organized … this book could help galvanize a national will to tackle such problems."
Library Journal, Starred Review

"Well researched and smoothly written. Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems [and] provides a checklist for what needs to be done."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"This is the book we children of prisoners have been waiting for."
—Chesa Boudin

Publishers Weekly
Children of prisoners: who even thinks about them? Journalist Bernstein puts a face on this population with staggering statistics (2.4 million children have a parent in jail, and as many as half of all boys whose parents do time will wind up behind bars themselves) and personal stories of children like Susana, who has embraced her father only once in her life, and Carl, who told the jailhouse Santa that all he wanted for Christmas was for his mother to come home. Parents and children speak about the trauma of prison visits, the expensive phone calls that cut off without warning and the questions from children (What do you tell your friends? Are you to blame?) and parents (Would your child be better off without you?). Bernstein takes on the system as well: because of mandatory sentencing, judges must impose life imprisonment without parole, regardless of circumstances; a convicted felon, once released, has no access to student or small-business loans, public assistance or housing; a grandmother fears applying for aid because she must give up her grandchildren to the foster care system for evaluation and may never get them back. Well researched and smoothly written, Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems, provides a checklist for what needs to be done and also cites organizations like the Osborne Society that provide parenting and literacy classes, counseling and support. The message is clear : taking family connections into account "holds particular promise for restoring a social fabric rent by both crime and punishment." (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Amid heated national debates about family values and villages raising children, the plight of prison families, which include 2.4 million children, is largely overlooked. Journalist Bernstein tackles the issue by placing original case studies in the context of current research in this readable and informative volume. Key issues make up the organization, e.g., the arrest process; sentencing guidelines and the negative aspects of mandatory minimums; the comparison of child care by foster parents, by grandparents, and through innovative prison in-custody programs; and the reentry experience and its effects on family members. Moving beyond description, Bernstein presents a thoughtful alternative model of crime and punishment, suggesting ways in which the criminal justice system can become more effective and family-friendly. This book could help galvanize a national will to tackle such problems. Serious, moving, and well organized, All Alone in the World integrates research and broad policy questions more skillfully than Cynthia Martone's Loving Through Bars: Children with Parents in Prison. Recommended for large public libraries and criminal justice public policy collections.-Antoinette Brinkman, MLS, Evansville, IN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595581853
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 585,381
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nell Bernstein is an award-winning journalist and former Soros Justice Media Fellow at the Open Society Institute of New York whose articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives outside of Berkeley, California.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    A touching book - worth reading

    Ms. Bernstein has managed to write a moving book but without stepping over the line of being to sentimental. I really liked that she brought not only the children into the picture but also mothers, fathers, grandmothers, police officers and more. I really encourage you to take your time and read it. Your world will never be the same again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)