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In 2014, Marion County Sheriff’s Office asked the Indianapolis Art Center to teach art classes to the young boys and girls locked up in Marion County Jail.

According to the Indianapolis Art Center, teens in the jail were repeatedly being caught with—canvases made of pillowcases, paints made of candies, and a host of other DIY art supplies. All these were technically contraband. But they were also a glaring pointer to the fact that young minds want to remain engaged and creative.

“These juveniles were trying to find a positive outlet in a very hard situation,” says IAC.

Making a bad situation less bad, IAC and the Sheriff’s Office created the Insider Art program.

“We know that art can be a peaceful outlet for self-expression, a tool to channel frustrations, and an opportunity to reflect on new pathways.”

In weekly studio art classes, children considered themselves within the three concepts: I Am, I Create, and We Connect.

Insider Art has just completed its first summer of instruction within the jail. There’s a show of the children’s work opening at the Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46220. Friday 23rd, from 6pm-8pm.

Support Insider Art with a donation HERE.





Tonight between, 8-9pm ET (that’s 5-6pm PST), I’ll be part of a VICE News Skype Group Chat about prisons.

Me and a bunch of others will be discussing education, law, some policy and inequality — all the stuff that has shaped a broken prison system.

I’ve been told “a Skype Group Chat is a virtual, text-based discussion falling somewhere on the spectrum between chatroom and Reddit AMA.”

It’s part of VICE’s ongoing, month-long focus on prison in the U.S.

“On September 27th, VICE on HBO aired a special report entitled Fixing The System which investigated mass incarceration in America, and the mounting civil rights crisis surrounding our prison population. Set against the backdrop of President Obama’s historic visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma, VICE co-founder Shane Smith spoke with inmates, as well as community reformers, and members of the judiciary about the structural failings of our criminal justice system and the challenges that lie ahead for those who aim to fix them.” says VICE.

That spirit of fixing things continues here. Although we’ll see if “fixing” is the right approach. How about disassembling?

The chat will be moderated by members of the VICE News and team, including the producers of Fixing the System BJ Levin, Alex Chitty, Jana Kozlowski, and Matt Horowitz.

Might you tune in?

See Fixing The System trailer  and VICE’s America Incarcerated


Boreal Bash 2015 kicks off on Friday is to include “photographers working around the world who will discuss some of their most personal projects and the process they have gone through to conceive of and produce their work.” The event is focusing on photography collectives, members’ “perspectives on working collectively toward a more cooperative future in our community.”

On Saturday, I’ll be moderating a discussion with members of Boreal Collective, guest collectives MJR and Prime, and Dustin Drankowski Below is the full roster of speakers.

All talks will be at Tranzac Club, at 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto.

SATURDAY (6-9pm)

Mauricio Palos (6pm): Boreal Collective’s Palos will open our Bash speakers series with a memorial for Ruben Espinosa, featuring his photographs, and then will share some of his own work from Mexico.

Émilie Régnier (6:55pm): Emilie Regenier, a Montreal-born photographer, will discuss the evolution of her work on identity in African communities.

Panel (7:55pm): Writer and curator Pete Brook will moderate a discussion about collectivism, cooperation and community in the photo industry with’s Photo Director Dustin Drankowski, members of Boreal Collective,’s Photo Editor Noah Rabinowitz from MJR and Lance Rosenfield from Prime Collective.

SUNDAY (5-8pm)

Dominic Nahr (5pm): Nahr will present his work from Fukushima, Japan and discuss why he is continuing to follow the story even when he is not on assignment.

Brendan Hoffman (5:45pm): Prime Collective’s Brendan Hoffman, an American photographer based in Kiev, will present his work from Ukraine, where he has been covering the unfolding events for more than a year.

Brandon Thibodeaux (Sunday, 6:35pm): Brandon Thibodeaux from MJR will discuss his long term projects from his home in the American South.

Matt Lutton (Sunday, 7:25pm): Lutton, a Boreal Collective photographer who was based in Belgrade, Serbia for more than six years, will present his projects from The Balkans and his experiences as a foreign correspondent.

For speaker bios and more information on the Boreal Bash, click here.


Image: Uros Popovic lights his cigarette from the embers of a Christmas Eve bonfire near Velika Hoca, Kosovo. January 2011. © Matt Lutton.


Horrifying stuff happening in UK immigration detention centers:

“Five children have been found in the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre since the start of the year, the Bureau has established. Other figures released by the Refugee Council today show at least 127 minors have been found classified as adults in UK detention since 2010.”

Originally posted on Maeve McClenaghan:

Protest at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, June 2015 (Credit: Wasi Daniju)

Children fleeing the horrors of war in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan are being wrongly classified as over-18 and locked up by immigration officers in adult detention centres in breach of Government policies and legal guidelines.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that UK border and asylum officers are sending teenagers as young as 14 straight to adult detention centres despite clear evidence they are children and without referring their cases to social services, as guidelines dictate in such circumstances.

Five children have been found in the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre since the start of the year, the Bureau has established. Other figures released by the Refugee Council today show at least 127 minors have been found classified as adults in UK detention since 2010.

In May that year then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced…

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Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo. McAlester, Oklahoma.

In my last post I mentioned the ubiquity of photographs of the Angola Prison Rodeo. Well, there’s another of these gladiatorial spectacles. It’s at Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester. And my friend Sol Neelman went there once.

Sol writes:

I remember sitting on a chair, trying to clear my head and thinking: “It’s a Friday night and I’m in Oklahoma at a prison rodeo. And I just got hit by a horse. WHAT?”

Yeah. Hit by a horse.

I was on the rodeo ground taking photos with a wide lens when I turned around and spotted two horses galloping right at me. One was out of control and a rider was trying to reign him in. I got caught in between the two. It happened fast. I remember thinking: “Uh-oh.” And that’s it. Total silence. Then I remember hearing (not seeing) someone talking to me, telling me I was alright and to have a seat in a chair.

The next day at the rodeo, everyone was asking me how I was doing. “You OK? I bet you’re sore!” I guess I had made a scene. Aside from my concussion, I had a small bruise on my right leg, where the horse had likely nailed me with his head. And yes, a sore, sore back.

Overall, I was very lucky. And I’ve been in wild situations like that all the time, one reason why I never feel fear or panic. I’m used to being in the middle of insanity. Plus, I’ve never had an accident: not in a car, not for work, and not by the hand, er, head of a bucking bronco.

While sitting in that chair, I kept thinking: Is this worth it? Is what I’m doing worth risking my health for?

Thing is, I know nothing else. I love so much what I do.


Two years on from the culmination of the California Hunger Strike (and without adequate response from the state) let’s consider what is at stake. These photos. These spaces.

Originally posted on California Prison Watch:

We received these photos and the descriptions from Alice Lynd, a supporter, friend and comrade in the fight against injustices. Thank you Alice and Todd:

Dear Supporters of prisoners in security housing units:
I have scanned and attached five photographs that were taken of Todd Ashker’s cell in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison, Short Corridor, in July 2007. Todd asked us to share them with whoever is interested.

Todd Ashker has been in a Security Housing Unit (SHU) for more than 25 years, since August 1986, and in the Pelican Bay SHU nearly 22 years, since May 2, 1990. The following is his description of the attached photographs.

#1 Front view of cell D1-119. The locked tray slot is where I get my food trays, mail, etc.

#2 View from approximately one step inside cell door area. View if of the 2 cement slab bunks. Note, back concrete…

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“Kalief Browder may have hung himself, but he was killed by the brokenness of our court system.” This is an important reflection by Raj Jayadev.

Originally posted on Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project:

by Raj Jayadev (This piece originally ran in the Huffington Post)

09browder-facebookjumbo-v2_large Kalief Browder

To call the death of 22-year-old Kalief Browder a suicide is not the full truth. Kalief Browder may have hung himself, but he was killed by the brokenness of our court system.

The story of his short life, told by Jennifer Gonnerman in The New Yorker last year, chronicles the horrors of a 16-year-old who was charged for a stealing a backpack, sent to the isolation and brutality of Rikers Island prison for three years, only for the charge to eventually be dropped by the prosecutor. Follow up articles report that Kalief was so profoundly haunted from his mental and physical abuse inside that upon his release, he was hospitalized and told his mother, “I can’t take it anymore.” Ultimately, he hung himself with an air-conditioner cord at his home this June.

The ubiquity of his…

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I’m one of the critically massive pool of jurors for this years Critical Mass. I take bribes like FIFA.

The 4-week Robert Rauschenberg Foundation sounds sick!

The blurb:

Registration is now open for Photolucida’s Critical Mass competition! Awards include a monograph prize, a solo exhibition at Blue Sky Gallery, a group exhibition juried by Alison Nordström, and a prestigious four-week artist’s residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Captiva Island estate.

Registration deadline is July 28th

Image: Brandon Thibodeaux, Maw Maw’s New Braids, Duncan, MS 2009. (Source)


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