The nationally acclaimed “engrossing, disturbing, at times heartbreaking” (Van Jones) book that shines a harsh light on the abusive world of juvenile prisons, by the award-winning journalist
“Nell Bernstein’s new book could be for juvenile justice what Rachel Carson’s book was for the environmental movement.” —Andrew Cohen, correspondent, ABC News
Winner, 2015 Media for a Just Society Award in the book category
Winner, 2015 ABA Silver Gavel Award in the book category
Honorable Mention, 2015 Scribes Book Award
Shortlisted, 2015 Ridenhour Book Prize
In what the San Francisco Chronicle called “an epic work of investigative journalism that lays bare our nation’s brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons and is a clarion call to bring our children home,” Nell Bernstein eloquently argues that there is no good way to lock up a child. Making the radical argument that state-run detention centers should be abolished completely, her “passionate and convincing” (Kirkus Reviews) book points out that our system of juvenile justice flies in the face of everything we know about what motivates young people to change.
Called “a devastating read” by Truthout, Burning Down the House received a starred Publishers Weekly review and was an In These Times recommended summer read. Bernstein’s heartrending portraits of young people abused by the system intended to protect and “rehabilitate” them are interwoven with reporting on innovative programs that provide effective alternatives to putting children behind bars.
The result is a work that the Philadelphia Inquirer called “a searing indictment and a deft strike at the heart of America’s centuries-old practice of locking children away in institutions”—a landmark book that has already launched a new national conversation.