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Raised by the Courts



Florida Judge Says There Are More Effective Alternatives to Sending Teens to Jail

About 1 million teenagers are locked up each year in the United States, more than in any other country.  In spite of the best efforts and positive intentions of juvenile justice systems across the nation, many young offenders who are incarcerated repeat their crimes and end up in overcrowded prisons as adults. With too many policy-makers perceiving jail time to be the solution to fighting crime, the United States has become the Incarceration Nation.

Irene Sullivan, a Circuit Court Judge in Florida’s Unified Family Court says there’s a better way.

In her new book, Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice, Judge Sullivan provides emotionally charged courtroom cases to build her argument for reform of the juvenile justice system.

“Alternatives to imprisoning young people exist that are more effective, less costly, and more humane,” she says.  “We don’t need to spend money developing and testing new solutions. We need to support, adopt, and expand access to the many cost-effective programs that have proven to work, such as prevention of child abuse, parent counseling, family therapy, youth court and other diversion services, truancy reduction programs,
and many others.” 

“Instead of paying for failure,” Judge Sullivan says,
“we should invest in success. Our nation’s children deserve our concern and conscientious dedication to their futures and ours.”


Raised by the Courts:

One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice

Judge Irene Sullivan


List $24.95

Hardcover  260 pages

ISBN 978-1-60714-638-4

Kaplan Publishing


Raised By the Courts describes a host of prevention, intervention, rehabilitation, humanitarian and social programs that put our nation’s troubled young people on a path to safe, productive lives. Visit


About the Author

Judge Irene Sullivan


Irene Sullivan has been a Circuit Court Judge in Florida’s Unified Family Court since 1999.  A nationally recognized speaker on child protection, juvenile justice and truancy matters, she is a member of the American Bar Association Commission on Youth at Risk, the National Truancy Prevention Association, the Florida Blueprint Commission to reform juvenile justice, and a statewide taskforce on Disproportionate Minority Contact. She also serves on a number of advisory boards for legal and youth-focused organizations.  In January 2011 she will be developing and teaching a  juvenile justice course at Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida. 

Judge Sullivan received her Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law, cum laude, in 1977, and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1964.

She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.


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