Corridors Of Agony

A rare look inside a juvenile court reveals a system waging a thankless struggle to save society's lost children

This is the story of a courthouse, a group of kids who passed through it one week and the people whose task it is to rescue them.

Clarence Mitchell Courthouse, a brooding Beaux Arts monolith in the heart of Baltimore, contains the Baltimore City Juvenile Court. Like the 2,500 similar juvenile courts across the nation, this is where the battles are being fought against some of America's toughest problems: drugs, disintegrating families, household violence. As these problems have grown worse over the past two decades, the judicial system designed to deal with them has crumbled. These courts are an indicator of...

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