Breaking Through to Boys in CrisisDr. Jody Roy, SAVE Director Emeritus and Shawn Karsten, SAVE Regional Youth Advisor, recently completed a project with the inmates and staff of the Diversity Enhancement Program of Fox Lake Correctional Institution. Breaking Through to Boys in Crisis: Insights From Inmates is a thought-provoking compilation of their numerous discussions and inmate writings from the project. The content presented in the publication is intended to help people reflect on and understand the dynamics involved in some elements of youth criminality. The project sought to engage inmates in sharing their opinions and feelings about their lives before crime, the social forces and individual desires that lead them to crime, and the consequences they have experienced as a result. The men of the Diversity Enhancement Program hope Breaking Through to Boys in Crisis will help at least one reader better understand how they might try to save one boy from a life of crime. Many discussions focused around the chronic social problems some boys face every day – poverty, parental addition and neglect – the problems that define communities with very high levels of youth criminality. While much of what the inmates shared is in line with standing theories of criminology and in accord with data on criminal behavior, none of the specific material within the document has been corroborated against particular theories, statistics or best-practices protocols of law enforcement, social work, or psychiatric organizations.

This publication is a must read if you are working with a high risk youth population. Parents, grandparents, juvenile justice workers, school resource officers and youth leaders, will appreciate the honesty and frankness of the inmates. Readers may find the inmates stories useful in understanding the motivations behind some young men’s first steps toward crime and how quickly the criminal lifestyle envelopes some young men. The document is not intended for youth, and does contain explicit language and graphic reference to violent acts. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Breaking Through to Boys in Crisis, please contact SAVE at

 The resource is available free of charge.

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