You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘The Bottom Line’ tag.

“The statistics are embarrassing to the state [of Texas]”

Mona Reeder, Poynter Online, May. 20, 2008

60% of children under the Texas juvenile prison system come from low-income homes. Texas spends more than twice as much per prisoner as per pupil. Laying on the floor, thirteen-year-old Drake Swist peers out from underneath the bars on his cell door in the security unit of the Marlin facility. Kids get their first glimpse of life in the Texas Youth Commission through the Orientation and Assessment facility in Marlin, Texas.

41% of children in the juvenile justice system have serious mental health problems. Joseph, 17, got a little bit of sunshine in the yard outside the security unit at Marlin. The facility, which once housed adult prisoners in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Damon Winter recommended the work of Mona Reeder, a former colleague of his at The Dallas Morning News.

Reeder won the ‘Investigative Issue Picture Story’ at the 2008 Best of Photojournalism Awards for The Bottom Line. Through pictures, Reeder explored Texas’ poor rankings in a number of categories including health care, executions, mental health statistics, juvenile incarceration, voter apathy, poverty and environmental protection.

This is not solely a photography project about prisons, and thereby lies its strength. Reeder successfully links the stories of numerous state institutions that are left wanting when put under close examination. It is truly a Texan story for Texan constituents. Reeder explains, “As I was wrapping up a project about homelessness in Dallas, a social worker who had helped me with contacts on the streets handed me a set of statistics issued by the state comptroller’s office ranking Texas with the other states in the U.S.”

Photojournalism was an effective medium for this breadth of information, “This project represented a well-researched, in-depth piece about serious issues affecting the entire state of Texas, and it was presented in an innovative manner that even the busiest person could get through and absorb in a relatively short amount of time” states Reeder.

60% of children under the Texas juvenile prison system come from low-income homes. Texas spends more than twice as much per prisoner as per pupil. Laying on the floor, thirteen-year-old Drake Swist peers out from underneath the bars on his cell door in the security unit of the Marlin facility. Kids get their first glimpse of life in the Texas Youth Commission through the Orientation and Assessment facility in Marlin, Texas.

60% of children under the Texas juvenile prison system come from low-income homes. Texas spends more than twice as much per prisoner as per pupil. Laying on the floor, thirteen-year-old Drake Swist peers out from underneath the bars on his cell door in the security unit of the Marlin facility. Kids get their first glimpse of life in the Texas Youth Commission through the Orientation and Assessment facility in Marlin, Texas.

Mona Reeder has worked on numerous criminal justice issues in Texas, including death row stories and sex-offender rehabilitation.

As well as the BOP (2008), Reeder won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for The Bottom Line. She was interviewed by the Poynter Institute about the project and her approaches to photojournalism.

The Dallas Morning News gave The Bottom Line the full multimedia treatment with an impressive online package featuring eight slideshows of the stories of individuals wrapped up in the statistics. IT’S A MUST SEE.

Texas: First in capital punishment, second in the size of the income gap between rich and poor, and second for the number of people incarcerated. Behind every set of numbers is the possibility that yet another child will live a lesser existence. Does Texas not know what to do, or does it just not care? Texas has the most teen births and the most repeat teen births in the nation, earning a ranking of 50th in the U.S. Barely one day old, Jasmine Williams sleeps on her mother’s lap as they wait for the baby’s paternal grandmother to come and take custody of her. Her mother, Kimberly Williams, 15, is in TYC custody and correctional officers shackled her feet shortly after giving birth to her baby. Both of Jasmine’s parents were 15 when she was born.

Texas: First in capital punishment, second in the size of the income gap between rich and poor, and second for the number of people incarcerated. Behind every set of numbers is the possibility that yet another child will live a lesser existence. Does Texas not know what to do, or does it just not care? Texas has the most teen births and the most repeat teen births in the nation, earning a ranking of 50th in the U.S. Barely one day old, Jasmine Williams sleeps on her mother’s lap as they wait for the baby’s paternal grandmother to come and take custody of her. Her mother, Kimberly Williams, 15, is in TYC custody and correctional officers shackled her feet shortly after giving birth to her baby. Both of Jasmine’s parents were 15 when she was born.

EMAIL

prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

@BROOKPETE ON TWITTER

Prison Photography Archives

Post Categories