Teens Behind Bars

I just finished two books in a row about teen boys under detention. In Paul Volponi's Rikers High, he has fictionalized an amalgam of several students' experiences on Rikers Island, as told to him. The callousness of guards, the brutality of fellow inmates, and the attitudes of teachers both good and bad, all are described by the young protagonist.

Todd Strasser's Boot Camp is about the experiences of boys and girls who are kidnapped from their parents' homes, to be interred at private "Boot Camps", once again based on the author's research into existing institutions. Guards and inmates are incredibly similar to those in the Volponi book, although these guards are not allowed to beat the "campers", so they encourage other teens to do it for them. The only rule is not to leave marks.

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