Up in Here: Jailing Kids on Chicago's Other Side

Mark Dostert. Univ. of Iowa, $19 trade paper (252 p) ISBN 978-1-60938-270-4
In a bracing debut memoir, essayist Dostert chronicles his time working as a guard at the Audy Home, a detention center in Cook County, Ill., which houses teenagers waiting to be tried for crimes like murder and rape. We learn about the center's racial dynamics (one kid lectures Dostert on the obligations that accrue to white Dostert because of the history of slavery), how to identify symptoms of suicidality, and the proper procedure for strip searches. The stories Dostert tells speak for themselves; the book is blessedly free of moralizing. When Dostert does want to deliver shocking facts about the juvenile criminal justice system, he works them into narrative – on the commuter train, he muses that he is probably the only commuter who knows that half of the kids at Audy Home were born to teen moms. Unfortunately, Dostert says little about his life outside of work. Since he does tell us he first visited the Audy Home as a Christian college student volunteering to lead Bible study, more information about his religious life, in particular, would have added depth and nuance to his account. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 253 pages - 978-1-60938-288-9
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