The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way

The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way

by Cara H. Drinan


$25.16 $27.95 Save 10% Current price is $25.16, Original price is $27.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, January 22
11 New & Used Starting at $14.00


In 2003, when Terrence Graham was sixteen, he and three other teens attempted to rob a barbeque restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Though they left with no money, and no one was seriously injured, Terrence was sentenced to die in prison for his involvement in that crime.

As shocking as Terrence's sentence sounds, it is merely a symptom of contemporary American juvenile justice practices. In the United States, adolescents are routinely transferred out of juvenile court and into adult criminal court without any judicial oversight. Once in adult court, children can be sentenced without regard for their youth. Juveniles are housed in adult correctional facilities, they may be held in solitary confinement, and they experience the highest rates of sexual and physical assault among inmates. Until 2005, children convicted in America's courts were subject to the death penalty; today, they still may be sentenced to die in prison-no matter what efforts they make to rehabilitate themselves. America has waged a war on kids.

In The War on Kids, Cara Drinan reveals how the United States went from being a pioneer to an international pariah in its juvenile sentencing practices. Academics and journalists have long recognized the failings of juvenile justice practices in this country and have called for change. Despite the uncertain political climate, there is hope that recent Supreme Court decisions may finally make those calls a reality. The War on Kids seizes upon this moment of judicial and political recognition that children are different in the eyes of the law. Drinan chronicles the shortcomings of juvenile justice by drawing upon social science, legal decisions, and first-hand correspondence with Terrence and others like him-individuals whose adolescent errors have cost them their lives. At the same time, The War on Kids maps out concrete steps that states can take to correct the course of American juvenile justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190605551
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 519,926
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Cara Drinan is a Professor of Law at Catholic University and a nationally recognized expert on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, juvenile sentencing, and criminal justice reform. She is especially interested in giving voice to those whose lives have been shaped by the mass incarceration phenomenon.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Pioneer to Pariah: The Arc of American Juvenile Justice
Chapter Two: Crime as a Child's Destiny
Chapter Three: Legal and Policy Paths to Juvenile Incarceration
Chapter Four: Life While Down
Chapter Five: Progress and Hope from the Nation's High Court
Chapter Six: The Uneven and Unpredictable Path of Implementation
Chapter Seven: A War for Kids

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
The War on Kids was fairly intriguing, but at times boring. Cara H. Drinan does a good job of creating a sensible argument that was clear throughout the whole book. Her opinion was strengthed by multiple different examples and statistics, specifically regarding how unjust it is to sentence a child to a lifelong prison term and how children are more likely to have a better response to rehabilitative help. However, the truths behind incarceration are much less exciting than the television shows, so if that is what a reader is expecting out of this, they have picked up the wrong book. This book began to get a little boring when it began to repeat the points that were already made. Although it is necessary to make connections throughout the book, it is not fun to read about relatively the same thing that was already read two chapters ago. Overall, it was an interesting read, especially as a teenager myself, however only people who are interested in the way the law and incarceration actually work should read it.