From Punishment to Rehabilitation
Los Angeles has the largest probation department in the country and an historically broken juvenile justice system. A frenzy of anti-crime sentiment in the 1990s caused a prison boom that our kids got caught up in. Only in recent years has the number of incarcerated youth started to decline. This tough-on-youth-crime stance ignored a growing body of scientific research demonstrating that teenagers simply don’t have brains that are sufficiently developed to provide the kinds of judgment and impulse controls expected of adults. And almost more alarming, we have come to understand that the majority of incarcerated youth are themselves victims of trauma. Imprisoning them in outdated institutional facilities with no support services fails them, their families and our communities.
This is where the L.A. Model for juvenile rehabilitation and Campus Kilpatrick come in. Aimed at improving care for youth in L.A. County juvenile detention facilities, the idea behind the model is that these kids are incarcerated less so because of what they have done, but because of what they’ve been deprived of. They have been deprived of the opportunities to learn right from wrong and they lack the resources – a sense of safety, a stable home, a meaningful education, a feeling of stability – that enable healthy development.
By design, the L.A. Model is a holistic, therapeutic, trauma-informed, collaborative approach to providing these kids and their families the tools and opportunities they’ve been missing. Thankfully, arts education plays a key role, and The Unusual Suspects are honored to be AIYN’s first network partner to kick off year-round arts programming at Campus Kilpatrick.
For our first 3 month residency, we will conduct both in-class and after school workshops for the 24 young men incarcerated there providing them each with 10 hours a week of our unique blend of theatre-arts education and mentoring.
Campus Kilpatrick is just the beginning. Over time, the L.A Model is expected to become the model for ALL the county’s juvenile facilities with the ultimate goal of becoming a statewide and then countrywide approach to juvenile rehabilitation rather than solely punitive incarceration.