David Chura

David Chura
Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
March 21
Teacher, youth advocate, author of "I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Kids in Adult Lockup" (Beacon Press).

David Chura's Links

JANUARY 25, 2013 11:14AM

Hard Facts about Prison Sexual Violence

It’s an optimistic headline: “Prison Rape: Obama’s Program to Stop It”. It leads into a comprehensive New York Review of Books article on three recently released Federal government publications.  Two of these documents examine sexual abuse in the nation’s detentionRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 1:54PM

Poor Kids and Education Reformers

I met Amber at a tutoring program for inner city children. It was 1966, my senior year in high school, and the war on poverty was on, a war we’ve failed to win.

At nine years old Amber looked like a scarecrow, an old scarecrow at that,… Read full post »

When most Americans hear the familiar constitutional phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” they can tell you what it means, at least to them. Hanging. Flogging. Chopping a hand off. Chain gangs.

Putting juvenile offenders in solitary confinement is high on my list of “cruel and… Read full post »

“You don’t care about the victims. All you care about are those kids.”

It was a comment I’ve heard in one form or another at book events, at juvenile justice talks I’ve given, or in response to pieces I’d written about our national policy of retribution towards trRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 9, 2012 12:22PM

In Our Toxic Prison System, is There Room for Hope?

I didn’t expect my talk to a class of criminal justice majors at a local community college to be any different from the other workshops, presentations and classes I’d done. The students had read my book for class. I figured I’d talk about the book, about my 10 years teaching highRead full post »

Like most teachers I’ve gotten some praise from my high school students over my 26 years of teaching—a lesson “wasn’t bad,” or a particular class was “sorta interesting.” I’ve even been told that I was a “pretty good teacher.” High praise coRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 1, 2012 8:46AM

Keeping Locked-up Kids and Their Families Connected

Arizona’s legislature recently passed a law charging prison visitors a onetime $25 fee as a way to help close the state’s $1.6 billion budget deficit. Middle Ground Prison Reform, a prison advocacy group, challenged the law in court as a discriminatory tax, but a county judge upheld its cRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 22, 2011 12:49PM

Children of Disappointment and the Season of Hope

If anyone doubts that the young people locked up in our jails are children they should spend some time in one of those prisons around holiday time.

I did just that for the 10 years I taught high school students, some as young as fifteen, in an adult county jail,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 13, 2011 2:33PM

The World of Girls and Young Women in Prison

It was like a giant switchboard, the kind you see in 30s and 40s movies, a bevy of operators plugging in a crisscross of wires, taking calls, making connections, a cacophony of chatter.

That image came to me recently as I walked into the lobby of the MassMutual Center inRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 10, 2011 12:09PM

First the Good News: At-risk Kids (May) Get Some Justice

There’s been some good news in the media lately for anyone who cares about kids and justice. Federal statistics show that the number of juvenile offenders in jail has dropped by at least 25%. Along those same lines, the New York Times recently reported that New York Chief Judge Jonathan LippmanRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 11:15AM

Teachers in Tough Places

It was a busman’s holiday. 30 people in a room, all teachers in high school and GED programs in various prisons from across New York State, listening to me talk about teaching locked up kids. The conference was in Saratoga Springs with lots of other things to do. Yet there theyRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 6, 2011 9:47AM

Global Lesson in Hope: Worldwide Concern For Justice

In a six by eight foot jail cell there’s barely room for a bunk, a seatless toilet, and a postage-sized sink. The only other space you have in jail is in your head, and even that gets crowded with all the people you carry around in there who you resent for… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 27, 2011 11:13AM

Kids in Jail: A Different Kind of Commencement

Now that all the high school graduations are over and the backyard barbeques celebrated, I’m finally coming down from the contact high of all that youthful exuberance and optimism.

It’s easy to get swept up into those good feelings. But now as I move into summer’s quieter months,Read full post »

The only people who think it’s fun to do book promotion and events are the ones who haven’t written a book, at least in my experience. I hear it all the time from friends and family. “How exciting!” “I wish I could do something like that.”

A… Read full post »