In the ongoing debate surrounding youth offending, and the increasingly ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric by politicians and mainstream media commentators alike, there’s a voice that’s too often left out of the conversation; that of the young person. With 7 out of 10 young people likely to return to prison after release, isn’t it time we get to know the kids behind the headlines, and stop to ask why? Completely anonymous and creatively treated with the use of animation, live action, and mixed media, the stories told in this unconventional feature length documentary will have audiences reflecting on much more than the ‘criminal act’ itself, but rather the life circumstances of the young person, and the social context surrounding their behaviour.
BEHIND THE SCENES
BEHIND THE SCENES
BEHIND THE SCENES
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
While the narrative of ‘Life After Juvie’ is carried by the uninterrupted personal stories of these young people who have had a run-in with the juvenile justice system, the film has the following underlying themes, addressed indirectly:
i) The positive correlation between social disadvantage and youth offending
ii) The impact of trauma on behaviour and decision making
iii) How political fear-mongering impacts the self-worth of young people, and leads to discriminatory and selective over-policing.
iv) The over representation of young people of colour in the juvenile justice system
v) The appropriateness of juvenile detention as a means to correct ‘anti-social’ behaviour, address trauma in young people, and foster the creation of safer communities
vi) The great potential for re-traumatisation in detention and the encouragement of life-long criminal associations in such institutions
vii) The rates of recidivism amongst juvenile offenders, and the high ‘conversion rate’ to adult prisons
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
'Life After Juvie' will challenge common 'tough on crime' rhetoric surrounding young people caught up in the juvenile justice system. Rarely heard from and too often dismissed, these young people will finally have an opportunity to speak for themselves, so that harmful discourse in the broader community can be countered by the social context surrounding their behaviour. Furthermore, if juvenile detention isn't an effective way to reduce youth offending, this film will explore possible solutions.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
- We hope that audiences will view the offending behaviours of young people through the lens of the social context that informs them.
- Young people caught up in the system, will feel that they have a voice, and feel more empowered to use it more and more.
- Mainstream media rhetoric will not go unchallenged on this issue as it has to-date.
- Shine a spotlight on the circumstances surrounding youth offending, and address them with community based initiatives led and driven by young people
- Address key indicators of youth incarceration: homelessness, abuse, substance dependancy, education, health, mental health, and economic well-being
- Offering young people alternative leisure activities
- For advocacy groups to use and share 'Life After Juvie' with their networks
- The film to be used to shift sentencing policy in all states and territories in Australia
- To offer young people at risk access to education, employment, and training
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
By first and foremost, making a creative, compelling, documentary that leads with powerful stories of young people caught up in the system; by creating energy and anticipation around the film's release, and focussing on festival success in the first instance; by getting this film on a reputable SVOD platform, as to reach as many in the broader community as possible; by linking up with key influencers and advocacy groups, who are well positioned to present the film to their networks of people already open to this subject matter. Having this film link in with the work these groups are already doing to influence policy around this subject matter.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Although some relationships have been developed informally, relationship building will be a crucial part of the next phase of our strategy for impact. Having worked for three years in a juvenile detention centre as a teacher until recently, I have some existing relationships in the youth justice sector. Furthermore, in a previous role as project manager at The Foundation for Young Australians, I can also tap into networks in the broader youth sector. The filmmaking team will continue to work closely with Documentary Australia Foundation
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
- Question damaging rhetoric by mainstream commentators and politicians surrounding the issue of youth offending
- View offending behaviour by young people as a social problem that can be addressed through the improvement of social conditions
- Empathise with the life circumstances of young people who end up in the juvenile justice system.
- Reject scare campaigns about youth offending, especially around election time
- Sign petitions to raise the age of criminal culpability
- Advocate for change and lobby MPs for sentencing policy change
- Donate to non-profit orgs doing wonderful work to curb youth offending
- Ring MPs and write letters of concern surrounding the state of youth justice
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
- Conduct rigorous evaluation of viewer attitudes before and after viewing the film
- Number of petitions signatures following screenings
- Number of donations to the great non-profit organisations
- Number of letters and phone calls to MPs
- Number of people reached through screenings