The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law is pleased to announce that the Charles Koch Foundation has awarded Professor Cara H. Drinan a research sabbatical grant for Fall 2016. Drinan, whose scholarship explores criminal justice reform measures at the state and federal level, is writing a book about children serving extreme sentences in America entitled The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017). The Koch grant will enable her to spend the fall completing the manuscript. An abstract of the book appears below.
The Charles Koch Foundation, established in 1980, supports hundreds of colleges and universities across the country—helping students and faculty pursue scholarship related to societal well-being and free societies. In the criminal justice arena, the Foundation is particularly interested in the link between poverty and crime, the variables that drive prison overcrowding, and the social and economic costs of mass incarceration.
In 2003, when he was sixteen, Terrence Graham and three other teens attempted to rob a barbeque restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. They entered the restaurant through an unlocked back door at closing time, fled when the manager started yelling at them, and left with no money. Terrence was sentenced to die in prison for his involvement in that crime. He was a casualty of America’s war on kids.
THE WAR ON KIDS juxtaposes theoretical failings of the juvenile justice system with actual experiences at the hands of that system. The first half of the book addresses the state of juvenile justice today – how the United States went so rapidly from being a juvenile justice pioneer to an international pariah in its practices; how certain children are so easily swept into the justice system, almost as a matter of destiny; and what laws and policies make that destiny a reality. The second half of the book turns to the experience of juveniles once they are incarcerated: the dehumanization of a juvenile inmate’s daily routine, and the quest for physical and psychic survival. Finally, the book concludes by mapping out a blueprint of child-centric reform measures that are economically sound and politically achievable in today’s climate. THE WAR ON KIDS is a haunting documentation of what is wrong with American juvenile justice and a guidebook to those who seek to correct its course.
Professor Cara H. Drinan's
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