A powerful, bracing and deeply spiritual look at intensely, troubled youth, Last Chance in Texas gives a stirring account of the way one remarkable prison rehabilitates its inmates.
While reporting on the juvenile court system, journalist John Hubner kept hearing about a facility in Texas that ran the most aggressive–and one of the most successful–treatment programs for violent young offenders in America. How was it possible, he wondered, that a state like Texas, famed for its hardcore attitude toward crime and punishment, could be leading the way in the rehabilitation of violent and troubled youth?
Now Hubner shares the surprising answers he found over months of unprecedented access to the Giddings State School, home to “the worst of the worst”: four hundred teenage lawbreakers convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated assault to murder. Hubner follows two of these youths–a boy and a girl–through harrowing group therapy sessions in which they, along with their fellow inmates, recount their crimes and the abuse they suffered as children. The key moment comes when the young offenders reenact these soul-shattering moments with other group members in cathartic outpourings of suffering and anger that lead, incredibly, to genuine remorse and the beginnings of true empathy . . . the first steps on the long road to redemption.
Cutting through the political platitudes surrounding the controversial issue of juvenile justice, Hubner lays bare the complex ties between abuse and violence. By turns wrenching and uplifting, Last Chance in Texas tells a profoundly moving story about the children who grow up to inflict on others the violence that they themselves have suffered. It is a story of horror and heartbreak, yet ultimately full of hope.
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|Title of eBook: Last Chance in Texas|
|Release Date: 04-29-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Last Chance in Texas|
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Last Chance in Texas
“LOOKING LIKE PSYCHOPATHS”
“Tell us what you know about Capital Offenders,” Kelley asks the group.
Up until this moment, the boys’ reactions have been as uniform as their haircuts and clothing. Heads nodded when a yes was required, went sideways when the answer was no. Now, the masks are coming off. The youth with one eye breaks into a slow grin. A boy with peaked features and startling blue eyes in the second row waves his hand in the air. He looks up, surprised to see it there.
“Life Stories, miss. We’ll be telling our Life Stories,” says a small, somber black youth with large eyes. He inflects the words “Life Stories” in a way that makes it plain they are uppercase. Those two words are al- ways capitalized in the TYC resocialization dialect these young men have learned to speak.
“You can’t leave anything out! You go over it and over it until it’s all out there in the open,’’ adds a youth with a solid-gold front tooth, the symbol of a successful drug dealer.
“You can’t be fronting. No way can you front your way through,” declares a powerfully built young man in the first row. He is wearing granny glasses and could pass for a scholar-athlete if his forearms and biceps weren’t so heavily gang-tattooed.
“You can’t front empathy,” agrees a slight, boyish Korean-American. “If it ain’t real, you got to get real. You can’t be hiding behind no thinking errors.”
“Life stories.” “Empathy.” “Thinking errors.” It turns out that hum...