Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poet Laurette of Youth Now

As an artist, and in my past as a Youth Care Worker for 20 years, I’ve seen first hand how art and creativity changes lives for the better. I have also volunteered in correctional facilities. Many adult offenders started out as young offenders.

When youth are in Open Custody there is next to no help or support for them or for their families, once they serve their sentence in open or closed custody as young offenders, many of them go right back into dysfunctional familial environments.

If youth are in therapeutic group homes it’s different, they have more support. They’ll have a social worker, psychologist, family counseling etc.

The way the correctional system is set up, particularly closed custody for young offender, is like the adult penal system and they are simply being preened for prison.These facilities are even referred to as jails, particularly by the youth themselves.

80% of adult offenders inside prison have been sexually assaulted, a good majority are First Nations, many have been in long term foster care, in the system for years, and suffer with mental health or addiction issues etc.

Anything creative IS healthy healing, and therapeutic. They sure as heck don’t have much of a hope of “rehabilitation” the way most prisons are set up presently. So yes bring on the creative opportunity!
I say start trying to understand people, especially youth instead of trying to control them!

Here's a informative article by Sarah Poko who works for The Signal in Halifax Nova Scotia, about Youth Now Radio started by Sobaz Benjamin.

Jackie Torrens tells the compelling story on Atlantic Voice about the Poet Laureate of Youth Now .

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