Thursday, March 8, 2018

James Garbarino's "Miller's Children"

James Garbarino holds the Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology and is Senior Faculty Fellow with the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. He has served as an adviser to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the FBI. He is the author of Listening to Killers: Lessons Learned from My Twenty Years as a Psychological Expert Witness in Murder Cases and Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them.

Garbarino applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, Miller's Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us, and reported the following:
On page 99 of Miller’s Children I explore the role played by “therapy” in the eventual rehabilitation and transformation of juvenile murderers. Because most of them have traveled the path of experiencing “developmental trauma” as children and teenagers, they usually need more than just maturation to get better, to become good men. This is where therapy comes into the picture. For most it’s a haphazard process of taking advantage of whatever therapeutic resources are available to them. However, access itself is often a problem for them because as “lifers” they are often either excluded from programs as a matter of prison policy, or placed so far down the priority list that they rarely get to the top and thus earn the right to participate. In places where this is not the case it seems clear that access to therapy aids and supports whatever else these “Miller’s Children” are doing—studying, meditating, reading, receiving mentorship, reflection, taking programs of any kind (e.g. substance abuse prevention and anger management), and just using their now mature brains after they reach age 26 to make sense of themselves and the larger world. Every “lifer” has to choose between living as a savage barbarian (the life of violence, defiance, misbehavior, and rage) or as a monk (the life of contemplation, service, study, and peacefulness). Formal therapy can contribute to both making the “right” choice and learning how to live productively within the confines of that choice. That so many do so is a testament to the human spirit! Seeing in up close and personal in many of the men I have interviewed has been an uplifting and inspirational experience, one that I will always cherish.
Learn more about Miller's Children at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Listening to Killers.

My Book, The Movie: Miller's Children.

--Marshal Zeringue