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No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court
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No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  655 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Now updated with a new introduction and afterword, this award-winning examination of the nation's largest juvenile criminal justice system in Los Angeles by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist is "an important book with a message of great urgency, especially to all concerned with the future of America's children"; (Booklist).

In an age when violence and crime by young peopl
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 7th 1997 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1996)
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This book broke my heart.
and over

and over


This is an extremely well-written book, in which Humes manages to show us the humans behind the label 'criminal'. He shows us the inside and the backdrop of their lives, how they rationalise, think, what they want and how they feel, and how they are (and have been) treated by caregivers, society and the system, and finally how the many chance factors that play into how their fate is decided in court. The books aim isnt to relieve the you
Feb 28, 2013 Ryandake rated it it was amazing
can i get a couple more stars here, please? like maybe a galaxy full?

this book is a tad dated now, but i doubt things have vastly improved for the better. the juvenile justice system is a broken, tattered thing, doing very little to salvage juvenile offenders, gain justice for their victims, or strengthen families sideswiped by the system itself.

this book follows a tiny crop of juvenile offenders through a year in the courts and jails and camps and group homes and back on the streets. the autho
Oct 02, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing
This book had me so upset. I cried, I got angry, and I cried some more. I've always said that helping juveniles to get their lives back on track was my calling, and this book showed me just how important that is.

With the caveat that this book was written about Los Angeles in the height of gang crime, it showcases just how inefficient and unyielding the laws and rules of court can be when the offender's life hangs in the balance. It's also a look at how budget cuts intended to save money with "ge
Jun 29, 2008 Jill rated it really liked it
I work in the field and - believe me - what's described in this book is what goes down. It's amazing that some of our children are raised to be uneducated and violent and are then subjected to our overloaded, broken system. I don't have the answer to this huge problem but I think in-depth accounts, like this one, of the problem are probably the best way to start addressing the way we punish and reintegrate our culture's deviant youth.
Jeff Doucette
Nov 23, 2009 Jeff Doucette rated it really liked it
Humes immersed himself in California's juvenile justice system--most specifically, Thurgood Marshall Branch--chronicling the arrests of seven teenagers, their experiences in juvenile court, and their experiences following disposition (in juvenile court, defendants are "disposed of," not "sentenced"). He also discusses at length the work of and interplay between prosecutors, public and private defenders, and judges--in this case, namely Judge Roosevelt Dorn.

The book begins by explaining that pri
Jul 26, 2007 Bethany rated it it was amazing
This is a truly amazing and powerful book. The stories of kids and adults entwined in the LA juvenile justice system are portrayed with authenticity and compassion. The author spent time in the juvenile incarceration facilities teaching writing to the inmates. Their stories are told in their own writing, as well as through his interviews with family and officials involved in their cases. It will break your heart to read some of the stories of kids abandoned by everyone in their lives, finding a ...more
Gwen Burrow
Jan 13, 2010 Gwen Burrow rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I knew the juvenile justice system was a mess, but now I know just how big a mess. Solidly researched and expertly written in vivid, often intensely gloomy prose, Shout presents the stories of dozens of kids who, for better or for worse, get sucked into the court system, along with the hopelessly undermanned crew of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, probation officers and--saddest of all--parents all scrambling desperately to find the tipping point that will save America's youth. It's a co ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
This book tackles the issues of our juvenile system. Initially, the juvenile system was built as a way to rehabilitate the individual, not to punish the child. However, with the increased crime rates in the 1990s there was a huge call for our system to get tough on juveniles. This book shows how incarceration, statutory/prosecution waivers to adult court, and other get tough measures have negative impacts on these children, and more importantly - how often they commit crimes once they are no lon ...more
Astrid Yrigollen
I am not sure where to begin, this book is both fantastic and horrible. Fantastic because the sheer amount of work,research, blood sweat and I am sure, tears went in to it. Horrible, because of the subject matter.The percentages, facts and figures in this book were frightening to me, but became more frightening when I checked the publication date,1997. By all accounts things have gotten worse in the U.S.This book is a in depth look at the juvenile court system from many different perspectives in ...more
Nov 01, 2008 Courtney rated it liked it
This was a good book. The author did a good job getting both sides of the debate about juvenile court, yet still expressing his beliefs. I was surprised that it wasn't faster reading though. I'm not sure what about the book that dragged me down, but it seemed a bit difficult to get through. The setup is well done, with the author going back and forth through the cases of seven teenagers. I would have liked to hear more about the author's journey though.

This book is written about the year 1994 so
May 07, 2017 Amanda rated it it was ok
I fundamentally disagreed with so much of how the author perceives troubled youth. Throughout this book, Humes argues (seriously!!) that we should return to the 19th century system of prosecuting minors for offenses such as disrespect to authority and skipping school, and that the way to make our juvenile justice system more effective is to give harsher penalties for all offenses. I felt his arguments were judgmental, shortsighted, and lacking context.

Humes acknowledges that the juvenile justice
Corbin Routier
Mar 20, 2017 Corbin Routier rated it really liked it
The book is filled with anecdotal stories from the Juvenile Justice System. The author largely focuses on children who have committed violent crimes. The intent is to show that the juvenile courts had been aware of children much earlier on, but had taken ineffective steps to change their behavior. The result is time and money spent on seemingly few benefits. The book ends with an argument for a rehabilitative system rather than a punishment system.

Research and experience strongly suggests that e
Adam Dunn
A good book that started off very good and kept me thoroughly thinking and engrossed and went very slowly downhill as I went on.
The first thing I must say that turned me right off:
Pg 347 “Frank McClure, a twenty-five-year-old man with five arrests and one conviction for unlawful firearms violations who, nevertheless, legally owned six handguns.”
If you live in a society where you let this happen then it’s no wonder there are unfixable problems. When I read this most of the sympathy I had built up
Written by a guy teaching an English/writing class in juvenile hall, this is an insightful look into the lives of kids wending their way through the juvenile justice system. At its core, the sytem (or at least the LA system Humes focused on at the time of the writing), is horrendously broken.

At the time of the writing, the system focuses most of its efforts on the worst offenders. Being so over-burdened, the system can't afford to do anything else. As a result, the early offenders get slaps on
Josh L
Jun 30, 2013 Josh L rated it really liked it
In No Matter How Loud I Shout Edward Humes shares his observations, criticisms, and suggestions after spending a year observing Juvenile Court in Los Angeles. This book was very dark and depressing, cataloging the failures of our juvenile justice system in America, and listing every way in which we are failing our nation’s troubled youth.

That said, No Matter How Loud I Shout is very well-written, and it comes off like a series of stories rather than a simple piece of investigative journalism. Th
Nov 29, 2007 Joanna rated it liked it
This is top-notch nonfiction writing. The author was granted access to a public interest space (juvenile court) that is often closed to the public and appears to have managed to interview lots of relevant folks--judges, lawyers, juveniles, family members, victims. The book is a bit dated at this point: it covers 1993-1994; gangs are huge, juvenile crime is up, crime in general is up, computer technology is relatively uncommon. I spent much of the book wondering how the statistics have (or haven' ...more
Widad Diab
Feb 11, 2016 Widad Diab rated it it was amazing
A chilling account on the California Juvenile Justice System (JJS). This report taking the guise of a novel follows seven children as they move through the JJS. I was especially moved by the story of George Trevino which showed just how corrupt the JJS can be. The author ends the report with the unfortunate realization that the JJS is a scandal in and of itself, because it essentially fails to help the children it's sworn to protect. While its goal is to change children for the better, only thre ...more
Jacob Campbell
Mar 28, 2013 Jacob Campbell rated it it was amazing

Working with a diverse population requires the social worker examine aspects that make up the population. To fully examine a population, a few of the aspects that should be researched are as follows; best practices for working with the population, cultural background, tradition, norms and values, history of oppression, types of support, family dynamics, spirituality, and body language. The stories that fill Humes book come and address each of these aspects at different points.

You can read the fu

Dec 15, 2008 Kim rated it liked it
I see a lot of inner-city misery in my job, but Humes is one of those show off reporters who can trump anyone's inner-city misery story. The book is every bit as depressing as you'd imagine an in-depth expose of the American juvenile courts to be.

The access he got to a very secretive process was impressive and the book takes a similar style to David Simon's "Homicide," which was published in the same era. There's plenty of Dickensian characters among the haughty judges, burned-out attorneys and
Jan 02, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nobody
I had to stop reading this book before I could even reach the 100th page because the author had made it perfectly clear, several times by that point, that he doesn't believe juveniles should get the same legal rights (like requiring that a felony murder charge be proved beyond a reasonable doubt) as should adult offenders. The first few times he said essentially that, I thought I'd keep going in the hopes that it was some type of fluke or that I misunderstood. Nope. He actually thinks we should ...more
Feb 17, 2008 Lundy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: legal fans, non-fiction, sociology, crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Pastor EVHS
Apr 14, 2015 Ann Pastor EVHS rated it really liked it
I really really liked the book because you learn a lot of things from the that sometimes when you do something it is not because you wanted to but because of the influences around you. The book helped me a lot in my research topic esp on the part how juveniles get trialed and how do they give punishment. That sometimes those punishment doesn't help them and the juveniles will just re-offend. But sometimes with the right punishment there's a high chance that those juveniles will change to be bett ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
Everyone who wishes to understand how gangs and juvenile criminal activity spread need to read this book. Humes gives fantastic detail to the complexities of the juvenile justice problem and devastating delinquencies of the social services in intervening in court-involved youth before they become a statistic. Working case by case, he provides an array of examples of how an inflexible and overworked system is harming our youth. Well researched and well written. Thought based in the 1990s in Los A ...more
This is an amazing book- very informative, heart-rending, extremely well-written. I started reading it on my daily bus rides, but soon had to stop that because everytime I read more than a few pages, I started to cry. I particularly liked that he included perspectives from all the "players" in the juvenile justice system- judges, public defenders, prosecutors, kids, parents. A beautiful, moving, horrifying read.
Apr 07, 2012 Ashley rated it it was ok
The bias in this book is so clear and astounding that it made it very difficult to read. While I agree with a majority of what the author was trying to convey, the way he came about saying it made me give it 2 stars. Just read this quote from page 220 -- "After all, if every criminal empathized with victims, chose better friends, took responsibility for their lives, and were honest, they would never break the law."
Angela Fusillo
Sep 23, 2012 Angela Fusillo rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! It is beautifully written with vivid sensory details that takes you right there. I feel I need to read books in this genre to gain better insight into my students lives. I work mainly with at-risk youth. I have heard stories that made me extremely grateful and in awe of these brave young people who dwell in indifference, chaos, angst, anger and hopelessness. There is a sacredness in their stories.
May 11, 2016 Sally rated it it was amazing
Despite being almost two decades old, this book presents the dilemmas of the court and the social issues it faces daily to life. Presenting the youth that come into the court system and the randomness of their treatment and outcomes is, indeed, heartbreaking --- the word that is used most often in this book.
Dec 31, 2011 Jack rated it really liked it
Very Good look into the Juvenile Court.
In my perspective; I think this is a good book for any young aspiring Lawyer.
It helps you to think about actions and their consequences.
Also, I felt excited to see this happen in REAL life. (Not experiencing it myself, but witnessing it, ex. I saw a Drug Bust in NYC, Made me think!)
Anyway, great book!
Aug 10, 2009 Karina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: muckracking
This is the book that made me reconsider what I wanted to do with my degree and my life.

I met the author, and I felt bad telling him the book discouraged me from pursuing work in the field. We only talked for a minute, but he kept asking me why.

Nonetheless, it's still a worthwhile, heartbreaking read.
Jul 17, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it
If you're interested in the topic of juvenile delinquency, this is a great book. If you're like me and get all fired up about how mismanaged the criminal justice system in this country is, then this will fuel the fire. All in all though, an eye opening read about the LA County juvenile court system in the early 90's.
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Edward Humes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is the author of nine books of nonfiction, most recently, Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for Americas Soul and Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream. His next book, "Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet," will be out next year."
More about Edward Humes...

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“we are waiting and waiting and doing nothing, until it is too late, and they commit crimes so serious that all society wants to do is punish instead of rehabilitate.” 7 likes
“Is it always in the interest of the public safety to seek the prosecutor's traditional solution -- the harshest penalty possible? Or is the public best served by finding ways to change a kid's lot in life for the better, even if that means opening the prison door?” 4 likes
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