Over the past month, Evan and Mahal from the Youth Justice sector at BRIDGES have been conducting individual meetings with the Third Cohort of IYSOC out of Jail East.
The main purpose of the meetings were to remind the Youth of the contract they signed at the beginning of the sessions. In the contract there is an emphasis on giving one’s best effort at every session and being honest, respectful and encouraging to all the other youth that they are sharing the space with.
The meetings were also valuable in allowing the youth to inform the facilitators of specific things going on in their private life that may be affecting their performance during the sessions.
The youth are also preparing to undergo the process of learning the historical and social forces that influence youth incarceration, including the historical exploitation of the 13th amendment and the impact of forced masculine standards on male youth in our communities.
This will be done through showing the youth documentaries and guiding them through readings that challenge them to reflect upon how their identity has been framed and is seen by society. The film list includes 13th, Interrupters, The Mask You Live In, and In an Ideal World.
The intended outcome for showing the youth these films will be for them to combine historical and contemporary knowledge with their experiential insights in order to better understand incarceration, how society views the incarcerated and ulterior factors that influence mass incarceration.
Ultimately, the goal is for the youth to have a better understanding of what an effective Change Model will look like and all that it should encompass.