"Meticulously reported and sensitively written, Bernstein’s book draws upon a decade of research and astounding personal interviews. Rather than abstracting the issue, she lets her child narrators lead readers through each stage of the criminal justice system..."—Salon.com
One in three American children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that defy everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults.
Bernstein introduces us to youth across the nation who have suffered violence and psychological torture at the hands of the state. She presents these youths all as fully realized people, not victims. As they describe in their own voices their fight to maintain their humanity and protect their individuality in environments that would deny both, these young people offer a hopeful alternative to the doomed effort to reform a system that should only be dismantled.
Nell Bernstein discusses her research on children in the justice system with Lisa Thurau, executive director of Strategies for Youth.
Nell Bernstein’s All Alone in the World was a Newsweek "Book of the Week." She is a former Soros Justice Media Fellow in New York, and winner of a White House Champion of Change award. Her articles have appeared in Newsday, Salon, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives outside of Berkeley, California.