A look into the world of Juvenile Incarceration.
The past few weeks have been incredibly eye opening. This semester I’m taking a mixed media class. One of our focuses is art as a form of activism (right up my alley). Our first assignment has been to create an isolation cell with accurate dimensions to help people see what incarcerated children face. This project was inspired by artist Richard Ross, a photographer who photographs children in the juvenile detention system. Through creating this piece I’ve learned so much about the horrible conditions and how little care is given to children in this situation. Many youths who are incarcerated have landed there through lack of education, abuse, homelessness, and a slew of other complications.
For the past two days I’ve been sitting in front of this isolation cell; in order to help people gain insight of what it might be like for children in the juvenile justice system that experience isolation. The experiment was, we asked individuals to put aside their belongings, close the wooden door, and spend ten minutes in solitary confinement. Through experiencing the cell, the goal would be to gain empathy as to what isolation does to people. Although it is only ten minutes this experience really hit home for a lot of attendees. Many were impacted by the fact that they could leave at any time, whenever they needed, children in the system do not. They are stuck in a cold cell, alone, with no contact or socialization with others.
Participating in this experience has lit a flame in me, this is a population I would potentially want to work with as an art therapist. The cell will be moved to to Think Center in Wilkes-Barre this upcoming week for a forum on Juvenile Injustice, in which I will be speaking. Wish me luck!
Featured Image: Social Fabric Collective