Children in Prison

Six Profiles Before, During and After Incarceration


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About the Book

Almost 330,000 children in America are in prison, in a detention center, on probation or parole, or otherwise under the control of the criminal justice system. In a time of nascent prison reform, these children are often left out of the conversation. This book chronicles the experiences of six young people in Ash Meadow in Washington State. Written from the perspective of a prison rehabilitation counselor, this book provides a firsthand account of these children’s lives during and after their stay. These accounts show how domestic violence, inequality and poor adult-modeling influence the decisions that children make later in life.

About the Author(s)

Jerome Gold has published fifteen books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including two memoirs of his career as a rehabilitation counselor in a prison for children. He lives in Everett, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Jerome Gold

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7741-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3735-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

People in This Book ix

Introduction: Throwaway Kids 1

I. Cassie Martin: The Accommodation of Loss 13

II. Marcus Bellows: A Feral Child 56

III. Reggie Green: A Sister’s Love 76

IV. Jamal Willson: The Lost Boy 100

V. Norah Joines: A Valley Girl in Bad Times 112

VI. Kyle Payment: Institutional Man 148

VII. Jan Boats (1942–2009) 170

VIII. Further Observations and Thoughts on the Residents of Ash Meadow 176

Glossary 195

Chapter Notes 199

Bibliography 203

Index 205

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Gold devotes [this] book concerning his work as a rehabilitation counselor at a juvenile prison in Washington State to the stories of six residents he knew there. … Chapters eschew cause-and-effect descriptions of crimes and neat conclusions, focusing instead on each incarcerated young person’s accounts of his or her experiences through recreated conversations, journals, and emails, and on Gold’s experiences working with them. … Their stories share threads: violence at home and in gangs; anger and suicidality in the absence of hope; and a perceived lack of belief in their futures.”—Booklist

• “[Gold] offers profound insights into the challenges of taking care of incarcerated youngsters…heartbreaking and eye-opening and utterly worthwhile”—Discover Our Coast