No Place for Children
Voices from Juvenile Detention
151 Pages, 8.25 x 11.20 x 0.90 in
Sales Date: May 1, 2005
Winner, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Domestic Photo, 2006
Juvenile crime rates have dropped dramatically since the early 1990s, yet more young people are in juvenile detention today than at any other time in America's history. Most are nonviolent offenders. Many have mental health or substance abuse problems. All have been failed by some combination of their families, schools, churches, and communities. But instead of addressing these young people's needs for treatment, rehabilitation, and basic nurturing, we lock them away in an overburdened juvenile justice system that can do little more than warehouse troubled children.
This courageous work of photojournalism goes inside the system to offer an intimate, often disturbing view of children's experiences in juvenile detention. Steve Liss photographed and interviewed young detainees, their parents, and detention and probation officers in Laredo, Texas. His striking photographs reveal that these are vulnerable children—sometimes as young as ten—coping with a detention environment that most adults would find harsh. In the accompanying text, he brings in the voices of the young people who describe their already fractured lives and fragile dreams, as well as the words of their parents and juvenile justice workers who express frustration at not having more resources with which to help these kids. As Marian Wright Edelman asks in the foreword, "What does it say about us that the only thing our nation will guarantee every child is a costly jail or detention cell, while refusing them a place in Head Start or after-school child care, summer jobs, and other needed supports?" In the best tradition of photojournalism, No Place for Children is a call to action on behalf of America's at-risk youth.
Here are our fellow human beings—young Americans who have already, alas, lived hard and mean lives, yet who aspire to know more about themselves and others, and who well deserve the careful, respectful, thoughtful attention shown them by a talented, resourceful photographer and writer. By bringing them up close to us, Steve Liss helps us know our country better and the various destinies it offers for those who will one day be its working, voting, citizens.~Robert Coles, James Agee Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University
A heartbreaking and harrowing examination of a subject that has been largely veiled in secrecy. Steve Liss's photographs give us an intimate glimpse into the pain and confusion of these troubled children and offer disturbing insights into America's juvenile justice system.~Jim Kelly, Managing Editor, Time magazine
The publication of No Place for Children was made possible by the support of the Bill and Alice Wright Photography Endowment.