Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing black youth in Washington D.C.'s juvenile court, Kris Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of Black youth and makes a case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children.
A professor on Georgetown’s law faculty, she offers the rare and trenchant perspective that deep study of legal theory and deep respect for real-world practice can bring ... Henning’s deep expertise provides the foundations for the book’s most compelling strengths. First, it is comprehensive. Using high-profile cases, interdisciplinary research and her own experience, Henning provides a complete account of how the criminal legal system circumscribes every part of Black children’s lives ... Second, it is meticulously researched. It is an exhaustively supported compendium of evidence about Black children’s experiences on their way to, inside and on their way out of the criminal legal system. Third, it is clear, written in language accessible to lawyers and laypeople alike. Most important, the book ends with a call to action, articulating realistic reforms that are within reach, right now ... With its comprehensive and careful mapping of all the ways Black children are socialized to expect subjugation, The Rage of Innocence sets up the same dichotomy: It offers both a tribute to the humanity of Black children and a searing portrait of what we lose every time we shuttle another Black child into the pipeline.
... a rich combination of stories about her clients, copious data about juvenile justice and painstaking research into high-profile cases like those of Emmett Till, the Central Park Five, Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice ... Henning makes her case by looking at everything from rap music to city ordinances banning 'saggy pants' to sexual stereotypes about Black teenagers. The result is a book that is comprehensive and convincing, exhaustive and exhausting—occasionally repetitive, and sometimes bogged down in a flurry of facts. But these quibbles aside, The Rage of Innocence is a serious and thoughtful book about a subject of great importance, and it deserves to be widely read.
... powerful ... In eye-opening chapters, she explains how...changes in the brain affect adolescents in all aspects of their lives ... The Rage of Innocence is an important and timely book—an intelligent, compassionate, and indispensable argument on behalf of Black children.