Juvenile In Justice


Winner of the 2012 Best News and Documentary Photography Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for a selection published in Harper’s Magazine, the photographs in Juvenile in Justice open our eyes to the world of the incarceration of American youth. The nearly 150 images in this book were made over 5 years of visiting more than 1,000 youth confined in more than 200 juvenile detention institutions in 31 states. These riveting photographs, accompanied by the life stories that these young people in custody shared with Ross, give voice to imprisoned children from families that have no resources in communities that have no power.

With essays by Ira Glass of National Public Radio’s This American Life and Bart Lubow, Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group

Published in 2012 by Richard Ross

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“It’s more than a peek into unseen worlds — it is a call to action and care.”
– Pete Brook, Wired.com

“It hits home when you see how the world of these youngsters is compressed in tiny cells and dingy corridors.”
– John Hockenberry, WNYC

“Richard Ross’s photographs of young people in juvenile facilities around the country are powerful images of the isolation and despair that children feel in confinement.  None of us would rest if our own children were held in such conditions.”
– Mark Soler, Executive Director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy

“Richard’s images are powerful illustrations of the dehumanizing conditions under which many courts and governments hold children in this country.   This book reminds us why we need to fight for a fair and rehabilitative justice system for troubled kids.”
– Dana Shoenberg, Deputy Director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy

“Legendary photographer Jacob Riis exposed the world to the inside of tenement building life more than a century ago. Richard Ross is doing the same for youth detention centers today with the same visual and visceral impact that Riis had 100 years ago”
– Leonard Witt, Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication, Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Journalism, Kennesaw State University

“This is beautiful photography, beautiful in the way it conveys the stark, simple truth of children in prison. Yet to see it as photography is to miss the point. This is sociology, and psychology and criminology and public policy, but it is also about man’s capacity to do evil to his fellow man, or in this case, the children of men. In every frame is a wrongdoer captured by a system that dictates isolation, the soul draining surroundings of concrete and steel, the institutional nothingness over the prescription of a more mature society: rehabilitation.”
– John Fleming, Editor, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

“In these images Ross captures the lonely, painful, troubled lives of juvenile offenders, and the desperate places we have created to ‘care’ for them.  The book is a telling commentary on the costly, intellectually bankrupt, morally reprehensible system we have created to address the needs of society’s throwaway children – its youngest victims whose only remaining response to the insults they have endured is to lash out against those who have offended against them.”
– William Meezan, Ph.D., Director of Policy and Research, Children’s Rights