Juvenile Justice: A Progressive Alternative or Opportune Conformism? A Review of Mary McAuley’s Children in Prison

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Victoria Shmidt



Mary McAuley is the author of several books on the Soviet Union. In particular, she has written about rights protection. Her new book Children in Prison, published in March 2008, deals with the problem of juveniles in conflict with the law, past and present. The book has the same title as a series of edited volumes published by the Moscow Center for Prison Reform. Like that series, the book includes extensive quotes from inmates. The author addresses her book to those who decide on the future of the institutions that deal with juveniles in conflict with the law. The aim of the book is to persuade them of the need to reform the juvenile justice and penal systems. McAuley’s view on the problem of juvenile justice is informed by her previous research and her conviction that individuals play a significant role in history. She remains faithful to the historical method employed in her earlier work and adopts an interdisciplinary and participatory approach. This makes it all the more difficult for me to agree with her surprising conclusions.
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