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April 18, 2012

Juvenile Incarceration From the Inside

Richard Ross

We at Bag are completely taken with the juvenile incarceration photos of Richard Ross featured at Raw File and masterly curated and elaborated on by Pete Brook.You can see Karen Hull’s reaction to the facelessness of these images at Bag’s Tumblr site. For myself, what I find most stunning about this photo of a 12-year-old in his cell at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi is (as I learn from the caption) that the window has been boarded up from the outside.

The fact light would shine in save for the covering on that long, vertical window makes me feel the soul-killing senseless in a visual form of suffocation. At the same time, having the image ready in my head of thousands of boarded up, blighted buildings from so many news images and concerned photographs, the punch this photo delivers comes from my ability to suddenly imagine this scene replicated (with a different kid) behind every board on every one of them.

(photo: Richard Ross via Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America/Wired caption: The Caldwell Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center detains children between the ages of 11 and 17 years old. When Ross visited, six girls were in detention for offenses that included runaway/curfew violations, lewd and lascivious conduct, molestation abuse, controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine, burglary and possession of marijuana.)

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