The Child Inside
by Susan Lukin
Trafford Publishing

"All aspects of humanity are reflected in detention. It is a cache of humor, feelings, emotions, caring… a vein of untapped, rough gemstones winding their way through a mountain of order, rules and structure."

The life of a normal teenager is already difficult. It is doubly so for teenagers in detention, some as young as ten years old, whom enter detention facilities for a variety of behavioral and criminal problems. For Lukin, a social worker in the New York City Juvenile Justice system, these teenagers are merely children and victims, given the short end of the stick with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Through her eyes she witnesses their vulnerability, their struggles, their humanity. From personal reflection, she shares specific moments in her career that impacted her while shedding light on the plight of youth living in detention.

Lukin draws our attention to an ignored and oft forgotten segment of society. The myriad troubled teens she counsels all face hardships in their home life and seek that one connection with someone who can understand them. Lukin fulfills that connection and while most would readily dismiss these teens as simply delinquents, it is Lukin's experience and keen perception that allow her to recognize their hidden potential. She searches deeper, underneath the superficial layers, and calls on us to see them as individuals, hear their stories, and see how "the tough guy on the street" becomes a child again. Written as a compilation of recollections from her years working in the juvenile justice system, Lukin challenges us to change our misconceptions of youth in detention. Her insights are at once serious, sad, and humorous, helping us to see these children as nothing other than a person deserving of love.

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