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

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  449 ratings  ·  55 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)...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
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
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
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...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
Courtney Ali
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...more
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...more
Josh L
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...more
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
Jacob Campbell

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

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...more
Apr 13, 2008 Lundy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: legal fans, non-fiction, sociology, crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Angela Fusillo
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.
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.
Ashley Adams
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."
I'm going to have to get back to this one later. It is a really good book but the issues are heart-breaking. The L.A. juvenile court is totally different from what I deal with on a daily basis, but raises the same questions: is the system "helping" kids who so desperately need help? and if not (and that's a big NOT), how do we change it?
I do want to finish this book, but not right now.
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!
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.
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.
Brilliant and infuriating examination of all that is wring with the juvenile justice system. I loved how Humes followed the outcomes of a small group of accused and used their stories to expose the flaws in the system. A really sad book. I wonder how much has changed since it was written in the 90s.
Nancy Rector
Alarming book about real life experience in the U.S. juvenile justice system showing exactly how broke it is. Having had 2 children who were in that system I can attest to the validity of that statement. The sytem is broke and in no way set up for prevention or help.
What really happens to our youth, from the courts, lawyers, society and probation officers and the few who try to save them. This is written from the youth's perspective with supporting research. Easy to follow and understand and also shocking at times.
Susan Jones
I just couldn't get into this book. Not sure why. I guess it just wasn't what I was expecting, not to mention the fact I found it quite depressing. Perhaps if I didn't have a whole stack of book waiting to be read, I might have finished.
I read this book for my Juvenile Justice class. At first it was difficult to get into but then I started to enjoy it. It was quite an eyeopener. Definitely will make you start questioning the juvenile justice court system and how it's operated
Excellent book that really opens your eyes to the juvenile court system in the early 90's. The onlt thing that could make this book better would be to have a "where are we now" sequel!

Thanks Mr. Humes for the insight.
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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...
Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia School of Dreams: Making the Grade at a Top American High School Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet

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“Officially, he was no longer a victim, he was a criminal” 3 likes
“Take a trip in my mind
see all that I've seen,
and you'd be called a
beast, not a human being...

Fuck it, cause there's
not much I can do,
there's no way out, my
screams have no voice no
matter how loud I shout...

I could be called a
low life, but life ain't
as low as me. I'm
in juvenile hall headed
for the penitentiary.
George Trevino, sixteen, "Who Am I?”
More quotes…