Between the Lines

Random reflections from the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Hard Straight - No easy answers

A documentary about doing time on the outside
Director: Goro Toshima

The blog entry for this week is to watch the documentary and write comments on how you feel the topic was handled. For our blog readers, once you look at the following responses, do you feel that the juvenile justice system is preparing youth for a return to their communities? All comments will be greatly appreciated. BJB

Do you think the people in the documentary were victims of the prison/parole system? Explain why you think they were or weren’t.
No, because the parole officers would kep giving them chances but they would fail. RG

No, it was their choices to do what they did. They knew what they could and couldn’t do. TR

Yes, because once they go to prison it’s like they can’t stay out. LF

Yes, because they were violating their parole and they knew they needed to make a change. NB

No, they committed the crimes. TG

No, cause if they were then parole would have locked them back up without a real logical explanation. They got themselves into trouble. AD

I don’t think they were victims because they did the crime so they had to pay the time for what it was. SB

No, because they did bad things in their life. They been in trouble a lot, get locked up, using drugs, they are not victims. JT

Yes, because they had to report to the parole officer. MR

I don’t think they were victims. They just made bad choices. BP

Yes, the parole system took advantage of them and didn’t give them enough money for the outside. They can’t even walk down the street without getting burned. (BLK 10)

I think so because they could not stay out of prison because some of them couldn’t and didn’t have confidence or strength in themselves. JR

Because they give you just enough rope to hang yourself. KC

Yes, because they were in prison before. CW

Yes, because they had to do a lot of time to do and they didn’t have any place to live. RC

No, because they made their decisions to re-offend and go back to jail. The parole board was just doing their job. JB

In a way yes and in a way no, because they did what they did and the parole was keeping them from doing what they want. RA

Yes, because they did drugs and they broke the law. JS

No, they wasn’t. They was a victim of their own demise. They put themselves in that predicament. JP

No, because they put all that on themselves. JR

Yes, they got to put up with their bull shit. DL

Yes, because they could not get their life together. GB

Yes, because they weren’t doing the right thing. KL

I think the people was not victims. They just wasn’t trying to stay focused and not trying to get out of the system. JA

No, they have a choice. SS

No, they did things or put themselves in the negative situation. CH

No, because they did the things to get locked back up. DR

No, because they did what they did to get locked up. CH

No, cause what ever they did they chose to do. JS

I think they were not cause they were addicted to the streets. Parole is trying to help them. MA

No, because they were the ones putting themselves in that position. CW

Yes, it’s a set up for failure. VN

No, because they did something to get what they got. SB

Yes, should have had rehab/programs in lockup. No, it’s their own fault. (BLK 9)

No, because they put theirself in the situation. AS

Because they get out and they’re faced with strict rules and the parole system knows it’s hard to change. TR

Yes, because they were always in and out of jail, every time they said they wanted to change, they would end up messing up. SR

No, I think they did not think what they were doing and they got what was coming. GD

No, because they were locked up. AW

No, because they make the choice to do good or not and they want to keep putting theirself through it. NC

I think they weren’t because they put theirselves in trouble. AA

Do you think the people in the documentary will ever be successful on the outside and not get locked up again? Why will the people in the film be successful or return to prison?
I think they might change after their 13th time in prison. They might see that this life is not for them and their families. NB

Yes, because if they try hard and show they want to stay out they can do it. LF

I don’t know. You can never tell what someone is going to do. TR

I don’t know. It’s up to them to make the right decision to stay out of the system. RG

I think if the woman starts to think more about her kids and believes that she could make it, then she will. The other two men they going to keep on getting back locked up because they say that’s how their life is and how they are going to live it. AD

Yes, if they just get their head straight. TG

They will not be successful because they like going to jail. BP

I think that one out of every 3 would make it to me because some are messing up, drinking, smoking and other stuff. MR

Because if they want to change their life they can be successful. People return to prison because they feel like they can do what they want in the street. JT

I’m not sure if they will be successful, but I think they will, well the one girl. She’s going to stay out of prison. I’m not sure about the rest of them. SB

Most students felt that none of the people in the documentary would be successful. One felt Regina would succeed. (BLK 10)

No, they will return to prison because they stay with their friends and they do the same drugs JS

I think the guy who had his son will become successful because the only thing he has to do is do his drawing and tattooing. RM

Two of them yes, one of them no, because Smiley had a child and things going for him. And the girl wanted to change. But the other guyt didn’t know how to change. JB

Yes, if they make a good life and find a job. RC

No, because they do the same stuff. CW

Because that all they know is to be in prison they’re institutionalized. KC

I think that if they just forget about their past they will be successful in life. JR

I think they all could do it. They just got to set their minds to it. JR

They can be successful if they want to be. If they put their heart into it they can do anything. Just like us! We don’t have anything. We can come out with something. JP

I think yes but not Shep because he just don’t care. The others are trying to change. SB

Yes, it happened on the video. VN

I think only one of them will be successful…that’s the lady. The other two guys just kept going back to the same environment where they get in trouble. CW

Regina I think will but anything could happen. Smiley yes-his friends were trying to help him. Shep-no. He is a snail in and out of jail. MA

I think the girl will be successful cause she has support and money. The guys won’t cause one just don’t learn and the other can’t take the pressure. JS

No, because they haven’t learned their lesson yet. CH

I think some will make it and some won’t. DR

I think they will do good if they have something to live for and actually love it. CH

Yes. SS

If they get focused and try to do right the people might not go back to prison and they might because if you make a mistake and it was not intended to go that way. JA

Yes, they can change just like everybody else. KL

They could, but they got to work on it. GB

I say the Mexican dude will be successful. He got a son in his life and finally realize that prison ain’t for him. Gina finally saw the light. DL

No, because they are criminal thinking still. So they will go back to prison. AA

Some of them. They don’t seem to get it. They just want to do what they want. But I think for the most part yes they will. NC

Yes, they will one day to get more stories. AW

I think that they can all be successful as long as they recognize what they’re affecting and what they do wrong. GD

I think they all will be successful, but the only one that has me worried is Shep because he keeps messing up. All he needs to do is get his self a girl and a job. SR

Shep will go to prison again; Smiley goes to prison and gets out; Regina stays clean after her programs. TR

They’ll return to prison except for the girl. She’s doing good. AS

They all could succeed if they put their mind to it. Smiley and Shep probably won’t. (BLK 9)

Do you think some of the experiences you have had were shown in this documentary? Describe your experiences
Yes, but juvenile probation is a lot different and you don’t get that many chances. RG

Yes, I was in and out of placement for repeating the same crime. TR

Yes, having a PO and having to see him every week. LF

Yes, the part where they had violations for smoking and doing drugs. Violating probation. NB

No. TG

Yes, I did get back locked up for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. AD

My experiences was that I’d get out of the police station and be sent home. I will get locked back up and the judge got tired of seeing me. That’s how I used to be like. SB

Yes, because every time I am home I get in trouble and get locked up. I hang out with a lot of gang members. JT

No and yes because I like to drink, but not addicted. MR

No, because I try to do something with my life. BP

Drugs and alcohol, P.O.s treat unfairly, rules not realistic. (BLK 10)

I couldn’t stop hanging with my friends that were negative and went back to the past that left me locked up again. JR

Because when I come home I said I was going to stop smoking weed but I went right back to smoking. KC

No. CW

Well, I did the same stuff that they did, but am going to try to change and keep on moving with my life. RC

Yes, because every time I got out of placement I would hurt my parents again by using drugs and going back to placement. JB

Yes, when they had to be in the house at the time parole said to be in. RA

No. Battery and assault. JS

Yes, I had a kid and got locked up for robbery and never seen my son grow up. Now he is 1 ½ and I’m not there. JP

Yes, using drugs and gangs. JR

Yes, always violating my probation, living the streets, getting locked up. DL

No, except getting locked up again. GB

Yes, not wanting to stop smoking while on probation. KL

Yes, I’m up here for violating probation and getting back around the wrong kind of people. JA

Yes. SS

Yes, I had a problem with drug usage and always used when I got out. CH

No. DR

Yes, cause this is my 3rd placement and every time I go home I go back to the same thing. JS

Yes, usually I get locked up for violation and I hang out with gang members. MA

Break addictions and make money to survive. (BLK 9)

Keep on doing things over and over again. TR

Kind of similar to Smiley with a girl to stay with and get a job for music. SR

Yes, I smoked a lot of weed and I keep getting locked up for the same thing over and over. GD

No, not at all. AW

Yes, because I always say I won’t get in trouble and I do. Then I get locked up and say I won’t get locked up again, but I do. NC

If you want to be successful when you are released from Loysville, what are you going to have to do?
Worry about yourself and stay away from the old crowd that you used to hang around with and handle responsibilities. NB

I’m going to go back to school and get a job and use the things I learned here and make better choices. LF

I’m going to have to get a job and go back to school and get my diploma, stay away from alcohol. TR

To be successful you have to make sure you’re not getting into any negative behaviors and it will flat work out like you want it to. RG

Complete probation, go to school, get a job (good paying), move from Pennsylvania and go somewhere else where the system don’t know who I am. AD

Go into the real world with a strong positive mind set. TG

I don’t know. I’m not home yet. BP

Get a job and get my diploma. MR

I am going to school, stay out of trouble and do not hang out with gang members. JT

I’m getting a job and I’m going to play on a football team so that I’d have things to do. I’m going to take care of my nieces and sisters, be there for them. SB

Stay consistent, learn how to hang with different people, participate in LYDC treatment programs (BLK 10)

Choose better friends. JS

I’m going back to school, get a good job for myself and start doing my dancing and DJing for a life career. RA

One of the things that I think I’m going to have to stop hanging out with the same people I was. JB

Get a job and continue doing good. RC

To do good and stay out of trouble. CW

Handle my responsibilities so I can stay out. KC

I am going to stay away from negative people and try to do the things that are right for me to be successful in life. JR

Stay away from old people, places and things. JR

Move and start fresh with a job and go to college. JP

Stay away from my old friends. SB

Get a job and live life. VN

Change my behavior and my surroundings and stay away from negative peers. CW

Try to get away from my hood or something. MA

Stay away from negative stuff. JS

Stop stealing. CH

Get new friends. DR

Look at how things affected me, look at what I have to live for, care for myself and my family. CH

Do what I don’t show or do in here. SS

Stay focused and do positive things and not try to get involved with negative people. JA

Stay away from the illegal stuff and stay positive. KL

Work hard. GB

Get a job, stay out of trouble, try not to VPO. DL

Stay out of trouble and negativity. AP

Try really hard. I am going to have to occupy my time to the fullest. Go to college. Just stay strong and keep occupied. NC

Get a job, go to school and pick the right friends. AW

I am going to play football and keep myself occupied so I do not get in trouble. GD

Get me a good girl to keep me out of trouble, work on my GED and career links, and get a good paying job. Also start up making music and sing. SR

Stay away from negative situations and respect authority. TR

Just not get involved with drugs or other charges. AS

Listen to PO, family/select people, places, friends and who you associate with. Get a job. (BLK 9)



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