Art and justice reform advocates from around the country visit LA County's Campus Kilpatrick
More than 120 artists and advocates from around the country gathered in Pasadena this week with the goal of developing a national plan for juvenile justice reform – one that both utilizes the restorative and healing effects of the arts, and incorporates the ideas of youth impacted by the justice system.
Breaking the mold – juvenile justice takes new form
Two big movements — the efforts to improve the juvenile justice system and to expand access to the arts and arts education — are coming together in Southern California, where the Los Angeles County Probation Department has dedicated $1 million to support the arts for system-involved youths. Officials say their "L.A. Model" will prioritize restorative justice and rehabilitation over the more rigid, traditional idea of corrections.
Creating a pathway from juvenile camps to careers in the arts
Growing up in Highland Park, Johnny Ortiz always wanted to be an actor, but he had no idea how to get started.
At the age of five, he recently recounted, he called 4-1-1, asking for advice. The operator gave him a phone number.
"I called the number but it was a false number," he said. "I guess she just didn't want to break my dreams, you know?"
Young Inmates Help Turn Solitary Confinement Cells Into Art Spaces
Green paint covered tattoos on the girls' hands as they worked on the mural.
At Camp Joseph Scott, a juvenile detention center in Santa Clarita, five girls worked on the wall -- some standing, some crouching -- their arms occasionally crisscrossing as they painted the nature scene.
"I find it like a meditating type of therapy," said Anaceli, 17, who was five months into a seven-month sentence. (We're not using last names to protect the identities of the minors).
"It actually distracts your mind from being where we actually are for a couple of hours," she said. "So that's why I like coming here."
For Youth in Lock-Up, Family Connection is Key
I was locked up for a year, just after I turned 17. I was at three juvenile halls for about six months and then at a juvenile camp for about five months. I was sentenced for robbery.
It was my first time ever being locked up or being part of any criminal case. People were telling me ‘Oh, it’s not going to be that bad, it’s your first time.’ I thought I was going to be in and out. But I ended up staying at LP [Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall] for five months while they worked on my case.
The biggest issue I really had when I was locked up was being able to see my family. After being at juvenile halls, I was sent to [Los Angeles County’s Campus] Kilpatrick, which is in Malibu. Visitations there only happen on Sundays.
An important shift on youth justice in L.A. County
We call ourselves million-dollar youth, because Los Angeles County spent at least that much on arresting, prosecuting, detaining and supervising us. A million dollars is a lot of money. And we think we’re worth that, but taxpayers didn’t get their money’s worth.
Arts for incarcerated youth network, draper richards kaplan foundation feature
Across the country, a groundswell of groups and individuals is pushing for change in the juvenile justice system, especially toward creating a coordinated juvenile violence prevention/youth development strategy. Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) is at the center of this movement, using the arts as a strategic tool to heal trauma, empower young people to share their experiences, reduce/prevent their involvement with the criminal justice system, and raise public awareness.
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network Continue to Advance New National Initiative Focused Exclusively on the Arts and Youth Justice
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) will bring together a cross-section of more than 100 arts and justice leaders from across the U.S. on September 25-26, 2017 in Los Angeles for the second of three national Create Justice forums focused exclusively on arts and youth justice. Create Justice is designed to generate a national network of thought leaders dedicated to fostering creative strategies to work toward justice reform through opportunities in the arts.