I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup (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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup…
Powerful . . . I hope some of the leaders of the Obama administration will pay attention to these gripping stories and will wake our country up before it is too late.—Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities
"David Chura's timely book ought to destroy our complacency. It takes us inside the locked-down world of neglected and abused youth who've been cast away into adult jails and reveals, through its succession of haunting vignettes and surprising turns, a truth that ought to shame us: when youth fail, it is most often because we adults have failed them again and again."—David Kaczynski, executive director, New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty
"A painfully honest window into the hearts and minds of youth who are incarcerated and the 'keepers' who are responsible for their safety and security. David Chura has crafted a terrific book: it's at once riveting and enriching, and by its end, you'll insist upon a more humane and effective approach to young offenders.—Sunny Schwartz, author of Dreams from the Monster Factory
"In thick and unvarnished descriptions, David Chura takes us into the growing gulag of American youth prisons and shows us the fractured faces and bruised spirits of children who seem almost condemned to destruction by the structural ecology of class and race and ancestry. These young people-hurt and hardened-have become the icons of our times, and they cry out for Divine intervention. But it's not what God has done to them, finally; it's what we've done to ourselves. Read this book and know we must do better."—Bill Ayers, author of A Kind and Just Parent
"I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine is a light shining in the hearts of locked-up kids sleepwalking past the buried treasure they are and may never find. From his long and devoted work in prisons trying to breathe life into these hearts, 'Mr. C' is able to speak with authority and eloquence about how the American correctional system can almost bring the saintly to their knees. A book for anyone interested in the hardship and struggle, and (strangely) innate joy, involved in human transformation."—Dennis Sullivan, coauthor of Restorative Justice