Juvenile Detention Facility Challenge Program, El Paso, Texas, 2008
I am working on a project, "Suitable Placement: Juvenile Justice in America." For the past four years, I have been documenting spaces that surround juveniles....high schools, courts, juvenile detention centers, foster homes, group homes. Probably the most enlightened program for dealing with juveniles in distress is in Missouri; many others are ties for worst. When a federal administrator was brought into the Cook County (Illinois) Juvenile Detention Center, a 498-bed facility, he was introduced with the words, "Welcome to the Gates of Hell." I am thinking of using this as a subtitle.
As opposed to the adult system, however, there seems to be a movement toward rehabilitation and correction rather than incarceration and abandonment. Leading the way in this movement is the Annie E. Casey Foundation. I am quite happy to be working with them on this project. What began as a sequel/offshoot to my Architecture of Authority work has evolved into a magnum opus and is consuming me on many levels. —Richard Ross