Realities of Juvenile-Justice System Focus of New Photography Exhibition

The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts will present photographer Richard Ross’ unflinching images of juveniles in detention in a thought-provoking new exhibition, “Juvenile in Justice.”

juvenile2-copyThe display will run from March 8 to April 22 in the Stedman Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m.

“The photographs of youth in detention are sure to provoke a discussion about the scourge of incarceration that plagues our society,” says Cyril Reade, director of the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts.

juvenile1-resizeFor the past six years, Ross has documented the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist, and, occasionally, harm them. To date, he has visited more than 250 facilities in 31 states, including Pennsylvania, taking images in places such as group homes, police departments, youth-correctional facilities, juvenile courtrooms, high schools, shelters, classrooms, interview rooms, and maximum-security lock-down and non-lock-down shelters.

As a result, the distinguished professor of art at the University of California–Santa Barbara captures a rarely seen view of the juvenile-justice system, helping to raise awareness of the nationally important debate that he addresses. Augmenting the ethical and judicial discourse surrounding the need for reform of the system, his intense photographs give viewers access to the real individuals – the kids who comprise this community – soliciting empathy without being in any way sentimental about them.

According to the photographer, his images give all his subjects both humanity and visibility. He allows them the dignity of a voice and reveals that, no matter the institution, they are not an abstract set of figures and deserve more than simply being locked away and forgotten.

“These pictures are a wakeup call to the failure of our imagination,” says Ross. “They are a sad testament to the way, as a society, we privilege punishment over the resolution of poverty and other social problems, and how we hold up the dream of prosperity for all, while ignoring the disparities of opportunity that make such a dream impossible for many.”

For more information, contact Nancy Maguire at (856) 225-6245.

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