This is from F-Stop photography’s online Portfolio issue. It features one man’s work on adolescents caught up in the correctional system. There are some really beautiful photographs, and I thought it would be especially interesting for the folks doing school –> prison research.
Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services (JDDS) were established to provide detention, monitoring, and rehabilitation services to adolescents who have committed crimes and have been placed on probation. I have spent the last two years working for JDDS as a Tracker. As a Tracker, my job is to be a consequence, to insert myself in the lives of youths in an attempt to control and correct delinquency, while the adolescents struggle with exerting control over their development into adulthood.
When youths are ordered to complete probation, they are asked to comply with many expectations which may include: electronic monitoring, drug screening, completing therapies, and community service. Spending an abundance of time with them, I have observed the environment of discord that develops between the adolescent and service providers as well as between the system and outcomes. The service providers involved have the best intentions in mind for the youth, but often the youths feel that they have done nothing wrong, are victims of circumstance, or sometimes do not fully understand themselves why they have committed a crime. The system has been put in place to provide rehabilitation, but it is not a straightforward process and there are often relapses and recidivism, some of the youths spending a majority of their adolescence with a level of involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Through the use of anonymous portraiture, visiting locations where they have committed crimes, and reflections of the youths,Corrections serves as an appraisal of their experiences in the juvenile justice system in an attempt to gain an understanding of how the broader concepts of control and privacy affects their rehabilitation and development.
As a photographer myself, I am always fascinated at how a series of images can speak to me viscerally in a way that statistics may never be able to. Photography may be ubiquitous and the media landscape over-saturated with images, however, I still see the medium as an incredibly powerful route for change and story-telling.