When I first started to write Tales of a Jailhouse Librarian in 2012, words like solitary confinement for youth, the school-to-jail pipeline, alternatives to incarceration were inside jargon.  Now, just about two years later, I see those same words used on front page articles in The New York Times.
 
In what seems to me an extraordinarily short amount of time, focus in attitude and programs for incarceration has shifted and changes are beginning to happen in sentencing and in treatment of the incarcerated.  But what seems short to me isn’t short for someone who is sitting in prison waiting for these things to occur. 
 
And change is slow.  What I read about are proposed changes.  Legislation is slow.  It requires agreement and politics and we know how slow that can go and meanwhile, for some sixteen-and seventeen-and eighteen- year olds, they get a year older, a year tougher and become adults. 
 
And personal change is slow, too. It requires almost as much compromise as does any Congressional bill, but it does happen. If I’ve learned anything from working in a jail with kids and with school and with books, it’s that change does happen. It’s slow and you have to invest in it. But it’s worth the return.