Burning Down The House Summary

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The book Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, by Nell Bernstein is a compelling expose on the inherent evil of juvenile detention facilities. In her eye-opening account of the danger that lies within locking up this nation’s youth, Bernstein utilizes a plethora of rhetorical strategies to urge her audience to recognize and act on her claim. In writing this account on the heinousness of juvenile detention centers and why the system as a whole must be reformed, Bernstein uses personal cause and effect examples, studies and statistics, as well as concrete refutations to advocate the world for change. Bernstein starts her argument by providing readers with personal examples of the effects juvenile detention centers had on a handful of the kids she interviewed. Her first example briefly narrates how Jared, an adolescent many would …show more content…

Not only does Berstein call for an overall reform of this nation’s juvenile prisons, she goes as far as saying the practice of locking up youth is in need of a “more profound than incremental and partial reform” (13). The fact that Bernstein outlines the numerous failed strategies and goals of this practice with her compelling use of studies and statistics is enough to promote an audience to reject the practice of locking up youth. The statistic she shares that “four out of five juvenile parolees [will be] back behind bars within three years of release” as well as the studies she conducted on numerous instances when a guards abuse of power lead to the death of a child work to further prove her point: being that “institution[s] as intrinsically destructive as the juvenile prison” have no place in a modern society (13, 83). Bernstein refutes this false sense effectiveness further by sharing her own ideas on what she believes works as a much more humane solution to rehabilitating

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