Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice
Book Review by Jack Levine
Founder, 4Generations Institute
Raised by the Courts has within its pages a series of emotional discoveries and inspirational messages, telling the story of one judge whose life has changed as a result of her efforts to help change the lives of the young people who appear before her because of abuse, neglect, abandonment and a wide range of delinquency offenses.
The three sections of Judge Irene Sullivan’s book....Awakening, Despair and Enlightenment....paint a compelling picture of the daunting challenges young people face and the outstanding work of adults who have chosen to dedicate their careers to improving the chances of success for a generation of our youth at-risk.
Judge Sullivan is a grandmother of five with a heart that’s caring enough for the nation’s five million children whose lives have been altered by maltreatment - due to no fault of their own.
Through the eyes of the children who look up at Judge Sullivan in her Clearwater, Florida courtroom, awaiting her rulings, comes a ray of intense hope that someone cares enough to be not only wise, but just.....not only concerned, but committed to making changes for good. Irene Sullivan takes us to places we would never know about, seen conditions of confinement which we would be ashamed of, and asks questions which we all should know the answers to so that our children can live the lives we all know they deserve.
Many of the stories Judge Sullivan tells are tragic...reflecting the reality of young people for whom every door of opportunity has been locked shut....but whose tragedies are not as much theirs alone but society's as a whole. We are losing too many of our children to violence, distress, and the downward spiral of poverty, both economic and emotional...with disastrous results.
Too many of us are blind to the needs of a significant population of our children whose futures are dismal....for whom failure seems inevitable. Yet, Judge Sullivan balances the failures with many extraordinary examples of outstanding policy reforms, successful program initiatives, and absolutely brilliant beacons of leadership generated in communities nationwide.
Judge Sullivan’s mission is to capture attention to the plight of our youngest generation. But more so, she seeks to reach forward to a diverse population of people of influence, giving them the tools needed to advance policy reform by moving community opinion leaders and elected officials in the direction of investing wisely in our children...and our collective futures.
When it comes to kids, it’s not whether we pay, it’s when. How dare us pay for failure when we know how to invest in success. A valiant ambassador for truth and justice, Judge Irene Sullivan’s words should stir us to action....and shame on us all if we fail to act.
Raised by the Courts: A Book Review.
by Joanna Zorn Heilbrunn
National Center for School Engagement
Raised by the Courts in a must-read for anyone supporting children as they pass through the juvenile legal system. Judges, juvenile defense lawyers and social workers alike will find that the book stimulates critical reflection and is a fount of information on programs that are more effective than our failed, traditional practice of locking youngsters up, criminalizing them, interrupting their schooling and sealing the deal for adult prison. Indeed, this book is well-suited to be part of college curricula and were it read widely enough, it might help discredit the tough-on-crime policies that have stuck frightened taxpayers with extraordinary bills for prison systems when the cheaper prevention and early intervention programs cited by Judge Sullivan would have had better results. Kudos to Judge Sullivan!
Raised by the Courts: A Book Review
By: Clay Yeager
Evidence-Based Associates, South York, PA
I am sending you a big THANK-YOU for sending me a copy of your book, Raised by the Courts. In a phrase (and the title), you’ve ‘nailed it’.
I’ve read it cover to cover and am simply awe struck at how you’ve captured the low points of business as usual, but most notably how we can improve the juvenile court system in America. Juvenile court judges, probation officials, policy makers, providers and most importantly the general public should all read your book. It is a cold hard dose of reality about the shortcomings of the system as is, while at the same time offering hope and optimism for designing a new and improved approach producing much better outcomes for kids and families and staggering reductions in costs. Your insights can guide all of the stakeholders to get on the same page about ‘doing the right thing and doing things right’.
On a personal note, I am deeply honored to be mentioned in your book and to be associated with Evidence-based Associates and its remarkable Redirection program in Florida. Your kudos to EBA and its flagship effort in your state deserve our sincere praise and recognition.
I hope to see you again soon. Again, congratulations on writing such an important book.