Are kids safe behind bars?

We’re working with incarcerated youth at Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center to produce an awareness piece on sexual abuse behind bars. During the intensive workshops, youth will produce 2-3 media pieces to raise awareness and educate young people about sexual abuse and prejudice. They will research, script, storyboard, film and edit each piece, working collaboratively as a group.

It’s a tough topic, but a really important one to address. Most of these kids, in fact, most MAP kids in general, have struggled. As a society, we need to help them learn/relearn what appropriate boundaries are.  Not just how it’s appropriate for them to act, but what’s appropriate for them to experience.

“This is an exciting project for MAP and for Gardner Betts,” says Executive Director Jesse Medeiros. “In the past I know that GB kids have worked on film projects, but it’s usually about having a film crew come in and produce a product that basically says, don’t do what I did or you’ll end up here.  There’s nothing wrong with that message; that’s a great message. But at MAP we really believe in having kids become outside observers of their circumstances. We believe in showing them how their experiences or views of the world can be useful to others.”

An incarcerated life is full of uncomfortable moments. The PREA initiative was developed to help institutions confront sexual abuse in confinement, but it does so much more that. For example, in the MAP project, we’ll spend a total of 30 weeks working with these kids.  And during that time we’ll have an opportunity not just to talk about sexual abuse, but to talk about prejudice, discrimination, belief systems. We hope that at the end of the day kids see themselves as a part of …rather than separate from, and that they walk away with a set of concrete skills that could lead to employment and perhaps the first inkling that meaningful work can shape a life.

 

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