A 12-year-old boy in a prison cell, its sliver of a window boarded up from the outside. A sickeningly bright pink “time out” room. A restraining chair for young, suicidal inmates. Photographer Richard Ross, who was recently profiled in Wired, spent five years documenting 250 facilities in 20 states where young people are being held for a myriad of violent crimes and minor offenses — 60,500 nationwide on any given day. The jarring images from his Juvenile-In-Justice project draw attention to the many problems with juvenile detention — the racial disparity, the costs, the fact that these runaways and pre-trial juveniles are incarcerated together with tougher criminals, that the abused, the drug-addicted, and the psychologically maimed kids are let back out into the street without care, and that ultimately, this form of punishment does not reduce recidivism rates. See some of the photos from Ross’s ongoing project in this gallery, and be sure to visit Juvenile-In-Justice for more images and information about his work.
Photo credit: Roger Ross. Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center, Biloxi, Mississippi