A convincingly reported, profoundly disturbing discussion of the Los Angeles juvenile court's multifarious failings, providing terrifying evidence of the underbudgeted system's inability to slow the explosion of juvenile crime or to make even a reasonable stab at rehabilitating troubled young offenders. Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Humes (Mississippi Mud,1994, etc.) spent a year attending hearings and trials and talking with the most dedicated lawyers, judges, and probation officers in L.A.'s juvenile justice system. He also taught a writing class in a tough wing of Central Juvenile Hall, where kids charged with the gravest offenses await the disposition of their cases. Most of these children come from broken homes, are affiliated with gangs, and have previous records for less severe crimes. Humes asserts that the system has failed them by not stepping in sooner to try to arrest their slide. Minor crimes are punished by probation, which is often administered by overworked officers uninclined to check the most basic information about their charges. In the courtroom, a juvenile is lucky if his swamped public defender has even glanced at his case file before a crucial hearing, much less prepared a defense strategy. Before his sentencing, one of Humes's students assembles testimonials to his rehabilitation in Juvenile Hall but is sentenced harshly anyway because his lawyer hasn't bothered to talk to him. A couple of the cases Humes follows are resolved happily when experimental reform programs straighten out gang members, but elsewhere hard- case felons get off on technicalities, and abused children who still might be reformable receive harsher sentences (in adult prisons) than seems socially useful. Humes draws an alarming portrait of a judicial system in disarray. Must reading for law-and-order advocates as well as for those bleeding hearts whose worst suspicions will be confirmed here. (First serial to Glamour and Los Angeles Magazine)
No Matter How Loud I Shout
1543 Words7 Pages
The book, No Matter How Loud I Shout, takes an in-depth look at the juvenile court system in the state of California in the 1990s. Through a colorful narrative story the author, Edward Humes, paints of vivid picture of the how dysfunctional the system truly was. The main focus is on the various ways the system has failed many of the juveniles that it is intended to help. Peggy Beckstrand, the Deputy District Attorney, says it best “The first thing you learn about this place, is that nothing works.” (No Matter How Loud I Shout, 1996, p.31)
The one beacon of hope the juvenile court has is Judge Roosevelt Dorn. Judge Dorn is known in the court systems as one of the toughest judges. He was known for harsh sentences and often trying…show more content…
When someone tells them to rob the local store there is no question or hesitation. It is the quickest and easiest way to pay for the lifestyle they seek. These children know that their odds of slipping through the cracks of the juvenile system are high. This only fuels their behavior and crime.
The case of George Trevino was an exceptional one in which his real family was no longer in the picture, whether they were in prison or dead. He had nowhere else to turn but to foster care, and at an early age. He was fortunate enough to stay with his brother for a few years, which most children are not so lucky. His brother proved to be the worst type of influence, getting him into trouble by running away and joining gangs. The main problem with foster care is that children are often times shuffled around from home to home and have no stability in their lives. That combined with the fact that most children are put into foster care even though they are beyond rehabilitation, this makes them less likely to change once put into the program due to previous family, and gang ties (Vito, 2004, p. 352).
By trying juveniles in the adult courts they are forcing them to accept a punishment that does not allow for the nurturing and growth that they need. Putting them in with other adult criminals only makes them more likely to commit severe crimes in the future. Judge Dorn has this