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Wichita State University Photo Exhibit Captures "Juvenile In Justice"

by Cheryl Cadue last modified Jul 07, 2015 02:36 PM
Wichita State University's Ulrich Museum is hosting an exhibit that casts a spotlight on juvenile detention through the images taken by photographer Richard Ross. The exhibit documents the placement and treatment of American juveniles - including those in Kansas - in juvenile detention facilities. The exhibit is on view until April 13.
Wichita State University Photo Exhibit Captures "Juvenile In Justice"

(Above) Ulrich Museum visitor Carole Blackwood and her 10-year-old nephew view the"Juvenile In Justice" exhibit in March.


Carole Blackwood had not walked far into the “Juvenile In Justice” exhibit at Wichita State’s Ulrich Museum when she saw the exhibit’s photographed subjects weren’t much older than her niece and nephew who had accompanied her. 

“They’re babies,” said Blackwood of the exhibit's subjects who included a 12-year-old boy incarcerated at the Douglas County Detention in Lawrence. “They look so lonely.” 

Photographer Richard Ross’ exhibit is made up of 60 large-scale photographs from detention facilities nationwide including 18 images from facilities in Sedgwick, Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties in Kansas. The exhibition is at the Ulrich Museum until April 13. Admission, parking and group tours are free.

Though Ross does not reveal his subjects’ faces, the exhibit itself has given a face to juvenile detention by revealing places few outside the juvenile corrections field see, said Randall Bowman, Kansas Department of Corrections director of community-based services for juveniles.

“The statistics about which children are detained are well documented across the nation,” Bowman said. “Those statistics, more often than not, demonstrate that we detain numerous children with significant needs or with whom adults are frustrated with, and smaller numbers who are a threat to public safety. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And this exhibition puts a face of the children and of the facilities to these statistics.”

Bowman serves as the KDOC’s site coordinator for a partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which provided support for the “Juvenile In Justice” exhibit, and five counties (Sedgwick, Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Shawnee counties) that began implementing the foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) in Kansas in 2011. The initiative’s core strategies have been proven to reduce the unnecessary and inappropriate use of juvenile detention, reduce costs, increase system fairness and improve the juvenile justice system overall without compromising public safety.

According to Bowman, JDAI provides an opportunity for system stakeholders to examine local juvenile justice systems and make improvements in the administration of juvenile justice.

“These improvements often lead to the development of alternatives to detention that are more effective and more efficient,” he said. “In this multifaceted work, specific attention is paid to the conditions of confinement for those children who do present a public safety risk and must be detained.”

Bowman said the state’s JDAI coordinators will tour the exhibit during an upcoming meeting in Wichita.

“This work illustrates the real circumstances of a group of our nation’s children,” Bowman said.

With a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, the museum has extended visitor hours for the duration of the exhibition, created an on-site resource center to provide counseling resources and will provide 100 percent bus reimbursement for group visits. To schedule a free group visit, contact Linda Doll at (316) 978-6417 or at linda.doll@wichita.edu.

Where: Ulrich Museum, 1845 Fairmount Street, Wichita

When: Through April 13, 2014

Extended Hours:  Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m.

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