I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine
Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup
By David Chura
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807001233, 240pp.)
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A veteran teacher gives an “inside” view of the lives of juveniles sentenced as adults
David Chura taught high school in a New York county penitentiary for ten years—five days a week, seven hours a day. In these pages, he gives a face to a population regularly demonized and reduced to statistics by the mainstream media. Through language marked by both the grit of the street and the expansiveness of poetry, the stories of these young people break down the divisions we so easily erect between us and them, the keepers and the kept—and call into question the increasing practice of sentencing juveniles as adults.
David Chura has worked with at-risk teenagers for forty years. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and multiple literary journals and anthologies, and he is a frequent lecturer and advisor on incarcerated youth. Visit his website Kids in the System.
“Riveting . . . An indictment of the system.”—Sam Roberts, New York Times
“As U.S. courts send more than 250,000 minors each year into adult prisons (according to a 2008 Juvenile Justice report), Chura’s anguished, incisive depiction of one of those outposts is . . . a compelling call to repair our society’s brokenness.”—Cathi Dunn MacRae, Youth Today
“In its many twists and turns, the book discovers in the prison labyrinth a metaphor of the confinements and refuges of the human spirit. In the face of every person he so carefully depicts, the author shows us a mirror.”—David Kaczynski, Times Union
“[Chura] recalls the raw, gritty emotions of young men with little education and few options. . . . A compelling personal look at the failings of the juvenile justice system.”—Booklist