We are currently in the midst of a national movement to end the solitary confinement of children. In January 2016, President Obama banned solitary confinement of juveniles in federal facilities and highlighted the physical, emotional and social harms the practice inflicts on children. Many jurisdictions have since followed suit, prohibiting or greatly restricting the practice of solitary confinement for juveniles. However, solitary confinement is still routinely employed in a majority of states.
InLiquid, Juvenile Law Center, and photographer Richard Ross are collaborating on an on-going series of multi-site exhibitions that foster awareness around this issue. The series utilizes Ross’ photographs that document the incarceration of children in the U.S., life-size confinement cell replicas, audio recordings, and community programming.
The first exhibit, at Eastern State Penitentiary June 15 – September 8, 2016, included five select images from his Juvenile In Justice series paired with a collection of audio recordings of Ross’ personal interviews with detained youth. On display in one of Eastern State’s historic solitary cells, the youths’ firsthand descriptions of detention and solitary confinement complemented the raw and eerily beautiful images.
A major exhibit of Richard Ross’ photographs, Evan Thornburg’s interpretive replica of a solitary cell, physical items associated with youth detention, and complementary programming opened July 21 – September 4, 2016 at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library. The full list of special events can be found below.
The most recent addition to the series is a special exhibit at the Biddle Law Library at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, September 28 – October 28, 2016. It features an immersive experience of what it is like to grow up confined through a life-size interpretive replica of a solitary confinement cell, paired with select images from Ross’ Juvenile In Justice series and physical items, such as youth jumpsuits, sandals, and restraints. This exhibit is open to the public by appointment only.
Thursday, July 21, Reception: 5:30 – Panel Discussion: 7pm
Opening Reception and Panel Discussion
Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library
Moderated by: Solomon Jones, WURD Radio
Richard Ross, Photographer, Juvenile-in-justice.com
Johnny Perez, Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project
Marsha Levick, Juvenile Law Center Deputy Director and Chief Counsel
Naomi E. Goldstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology, Drexel University; Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow
Monday, July 25, 12 – 2 pm
Delegates Luncheon and Reading with Richard Ross
Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library
During this lunch-hour book reading talk, Richard Ross explored his recent “Juvie Talk” book and provided an indispensable visual dimension to the understanding of the juvenile justice system, revealing both the obsolete and effective practices currently serving juveniles.
Additionally, Juvenile Law Center (the nation’s leading legal rights organization for youth, based in Philadelphia) had its Deputy Director and Chief Counsel Marsha Levick offer insight as a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.
Richard Ross is a photographer, researcher and professor of art based in Santa Barbara, California. Since discovering that kids as young as 10 are entering the justice system, Ross has dedicated himself to researching and documenting the American juvenile justice system with themes ranging from solitary confinement to girls in the justice system. Ross has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The MacArthur Foundation. Ross was awarded both Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships.
InLiquid is a nonprofit organization committed to creating opportunities and exposure for visual artists while serving as a free, online public hub for arts information in the Philadelphia area. InLiquid highlights the richness of the region’s art activity, broadens audiences, and heightens appreciation for all forms of visual culture by providing the public with immediate, online access to view the portfolios and credentials of over 280 artists and designers; through meaningful partnerships with other cultural organizations; through community-based activities and exhibitions; and through an extensive online body of timely art information.
Juvenile Law Center is the world’s oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children. Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as thought leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center’s impact on the development of law and policy on behalf of children is substantial.
Biddle Law Library, University of Pennsylvania Law School 3501 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA
Eastern State Penitentiary Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. works to preserve and restore the architecture of Eastern State Penitentiary; to make the Penitentiary accessible to the public; to explain and interpret its complex history; to place current issues of corrections and justice in an historical framework; and to provide a public forum where these issues are discussed.
Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library The mission of the Free Library of Philadelphia is to advance literacy, guide learning, and inspire curiosity. Its vision is to build an enlightened community devoted to lifelong learning.