Kids in Jail by Jane Guttman
A PORTRAIT OF LIFE WITHOUT MERCY
"While jails and prisons can deny human dignity they cannot destroy that dignity which soars
mountain like, over the valley of suffering imposed there."
Jonathan S. Simon
Professor of Law, UC Berkley
Author, Mass Incarceration:
To the incarcerated children of this earth...your struggles and your anguish rush to the core of my heart compelling me to stand beside every justice advocate as we bring the inhumanity to rest.
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Kids in Jail is fictionalized nonfiction—sketches of events that occur inside juvenile halls across America, and although they are told by me, I cannot speak to whether or not these incidents are universal. I believe, however, they are not exceptional, occurring coast to coast in our nation’s juvenile facilities. In recounting these events, I have used creative license in an effort to represent them from some of the countless youth who live and endure these conditions. I do this not to speak for but rather to give voice to them, and to their experiences.
The verses that follow are a call to action, a plea for humane justice for a nation of incarcerated children.
I have used the spirit and essence of empathy throughout the pieces that follow—my words for the journeys of kids in custody, intuiting their hopes, dreams, despair and defeat.
Each selection is a composite of many children who have experienced incarceration in our nation. All names are fictitious and the content of the pieces arose from my interpretation of the journey of custody for kids.