My Top 10 Young Adult & Middle-Grade Novels About Drugs and Addiction

at The Fix: The YA addiction novel has become its own mini-industry. Which ones offer insight instead of hawking clichés? Below you'll find the best addiction-related YA and middle-grade fiction I could find. more--and a couple notes. That Alaya Dawn Johnson joint is like the most DC thing I've ever read, it was glorious. I wrote earlier about the book and movie of The Spectacular Now.I just realized that I left off Because of Winn-Dixie literally by mistake! It really should have ranked … [Read more...]

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Prison Photos and Pepper Spray in Schools: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

"Photos of 1960s US Prison System Attempt to Show that Inmates Are Us": Lyon's images are an echo of an earlier time, a time when uniforms were white and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing time. But the photos also serve as a dark omen, of a prison-industrial complex that would only grow more hungry, more unjust, more powerful. "The prison changed me a lot, and not in the way I could have predicted," Lyon said. "There is an expression about dope, 'Once the needle goes in, it never comes … [Read more...]

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“The Uncozy Christie”: Me on the Queen of Crime

at the University Bookman: Agatha Christie’s name is practically synonymous with comfort reading. Her publishers used to promise readers “a Christie for Christmas,” and her works are the inspiration for the mystery subgenre known as “cozies.” Quaint little English villages, low-rent lords and shady ladies, just a spot of murder before tea at the vicarage—this is Dame Agatha’s public image.But on the occasion of her 125th birthday, we might do well to remember that both of Christie’s most mem … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

I have a ton of these lying around so you'll be getting them in small chunks. Trying to give each batch a range of themes and moods."How Some Alabama Hospitals Quietly Drug Test New Mothers--Without Their Consent": In Alabama, a positive drug test can have dire repercussions for pregnant women and new mothers. Their newborns can be taken from them. They can lose custody of their other children. They can face lengthy sentences in the most notorious women’s prison in the United States and t … [Read more...]

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“Redesigning a Prison Town”: Next City

magazine: ...Ionia is a prison town. That is its primary industry. That’s why there’s a shiver that runs through town when word spreads about the possible closure of one of those facilities. Most of the thousands of inmates incarcerated in them come from 130-some miles away in southeast Michigan, where Detroit is the hub. The distance makes for a severe reduction in family visits and programming, which ultimately increases recidivism — that is, it increases crime. But building prisons here is wh … [Read more...]

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“Jacob Lawrence’s Existential Sociology”: I’m at AmCon

reviewin': ...It’s easy to read artists—and maybe especially black artists—as mere reporters. Or, worse, sociologists. And Jacob Lawrence’s work does indeed have many reportorial or sociological characteristics: He’s racially conscious (and self-conscious about his role as a voice of his race), he’s influenced by folk art, he’s panoramic in his attempt to depict many layers of society. He has what The Wire would call “the Dickensian element.” These are all artistic choices he made that add to th … [Read more...]

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Prison Photography: Texas in the ’60s, Italian Theater Performers, More

Clara Vannucci: “Why should I run? Where would I go? Twenty years I’ve lived in prison. Now I have something to live for. Life has meaning.” This was the unexpected and humbling response Vannucci received when she asked a prison inmate of Italy’s notorious Volterra Prison and touring theatre actor why he did not try to escape when he had so many opportunities to do so.In 1998, Armando Punzo established the Compagnia della Fortezza, a theatre troupe comprised of dangerous felons and hardcor … [Read more...]

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