Book Review: Up in Here

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UpinHere-coverAs I read Up in Here: Jailing Kids on Chicago’s Other Side, I felt as if it was peering into me—my feelings on gang violence, juvenile delinquency, race relations—as much as I was peering into it. Mark Dostert took me inside Chicago’s infamous Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and let me experience it through his eyes without harsh judgment or over-sentimentalization. He’s a fantastic writer with an authoritative voice and a vivid style that paints a picture of an institution that serves one purpose: to lock up kids ages 10-16. Not rehabilitate or reform them, but lock them up, serving as a kind of hellish way station. The book left me haunted, dwelling on the seemingly insurmountable socio-economic and racial divides in the US. This is an important work that gives voice to a frustration I certainly feel, but have never been able to articulate. It’s a sobering reality we simply can’t continue to ignore.


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