Cover image for Saving our kids from delinquency, drugs & despair
Saving our kids from delinquency, drugs & despair
Baker, Falcon O.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
348 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Cornelia & Michael Bessie book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV9104 .B335 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The former youth commissioner for the state of Kentucky says that Americans spend more on prisons than on education and crime prevention, resulting in the highest rate of juvenile delinquency in the world. After 20 years of practical work in the field of juvenile crime prevention, Baker outlines a cotroversial program of far-reaching social reforms designed to reach our kids before they become criminals.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Baker compiles statistics of teenage crime and evaluates preventive and rehabilitative programs. The record is unambiguous: judged by any long-term, national standard, every attempt has failed. He attributes this failure to a system of institutions, practices, and beliefs rather than to any single component of it, such as the juvenile court, social services, organized recreation, public schools, or the culture of poverty. Louisville's former director of delinquency programs is no bleeding heart; but then, he's no advocate of imprisonment. He offers no slogans or simple remedies. He advocates birth control, workfare, "learnfare," "escapefare" (his vigorous conciseness is not without jargon), guaranteed family-income maintenance, alternative schools, legalization of drugs, prenatal and neonatal care, youth advocacy, and much more. All told, a knowledgeable, rather than theoretical and polemical, introduction to an array of solutions by a writer who genuinely believes that juvenile crime can be reduced. ~--Roland Wulbert

Publisher's Weekly Review

As director of delinquency programs in the Louisville, Ky., schools, the author of this sobering report has heard on the front lines the ``crime bomb that is ticking away, threatening to destroy America.'' Juvenile delinquency, as he demonstrates, is caused by many privations: illiteracy, welfare dependency, abandonment are but a few. His research suggests that, despite a proliferation of remedial and rehabilitative programs, large numbers of young people become caught up in a negative social and justice system. To break out of that cycle, Baker supports the teaching of morality and suggests new ways to treat first offenders, including a special court. He advocates school programs of early intervention to counter the lure of the streets and training programs, such as Job Corps, along with other practical approaches based on some two decades of his experience. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

``The nineties opened with more than a million Americans locked behind bars, a population that tripled just in the eighties,'' states delinquency expert Baker, who attributes this alarming growth to the ``impotent dinosaur' ' that America's juvenile justice system has become. In his personal, well-informed, and statistically rich study, he traces delinquency's cultural roots in slavery, the Puritan ethic, and, in more recent times, the American tendency to look for easy answers. By ``saving our kids,'' he argues, we will be investing in the future of American society. Baker offers suggestions for improvements in and alternatives to the courts which, if not immediately applicable, are viable possibilities. Though his book is somewhat repetitive and probably would have been better at half the length, it is a valuable work for general readers.-- Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, ``Soho Weekly News,'' New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Drawing on his roles in juvenile justice, Baker critically evaluates juvenile court philosophy, operations, and programs. His solutions recommend proposed massive organizational changes in the court, its programs, and in related agencies. Baker exposes the problems of juvenile justice, public schools, and welfare programs. Although he gives some attention to the explanations of delinquency, there is little presentation of evidence supporting his "nothing works" conclusion. For Baker, prevention has failed and the welfare system perpetuates the delinquency cycle. His discussion does integrate school-community-court elements, forming a plausible developmental problem-solving approach with logical and research support. Chapters on drug prevention propose a radical response: legalization. Other chapters outline the creation of a new judicial processing system for juveniles. Individuals will find the discussion of punishment as a rehabilitative tool woven into the new court model. No bibliography--only chapter citations. Interested citizens should also read Charles Shireman and Frederic G. Reamer's Rehabilitating Juvenile Justice (CH, May'87). General readers and community colleges. -J. H. Larson, University of North Dakota