Sunday, May 29, 2016

Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo and Me

Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo and Me
by Ana Castillo

In new memoir, famed Latina writer talks about cancer, bisexuality, son’s imprisonment

Highlights from the El Paso Times interview by Ramón Rentería:

“I was adamant about not addressing my own life,” Castillo said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “But there came a time, as a teacher of memoir writing, to walk my talk.”


Castillo thought of herself as a failed mother when her son, a model student, was convicted for robbery and sent to prison. He put his life back on track after serving time.

“It was probably the most painful experience I have ever felt. As a mother, we desire to keep our children safe and to provide not only the things they need but also to provide them with a certain life in which we hope they are not feeling pain or suffering,” she said. “It’s difficult to do that as a single parent, especially when you’re a Latina, because there’s so much criticism against our culture and women.”


“I’m a self-taught writer,” she said. “I did not study writing or literature — although I’ve taught many subjects for many years, including writing.”

Rentería, Ramón. "Interview with Author Ana Castillo." El Paso Times. USA Today Network, 18 May 2016. Web. <>.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

EPISD Alternative Placements 2013-2014

Highlights from Lindsay Anderson's El Paso Times Article titled "EPISD trying to stem 'jarring number of students removed for discipline" published June 27th, 2015

"El Paso Independent School District sends twice as many students to alternative settings because of discipline problems than all other school districts in the county combined."  Administrators describe this issue as "jarring".

EPISD had 2,213 alternative placements 2013-2014 in on or off campus alternative education programs.  The numbers rivaled larger school districts in cities like Austin, Forth Worth and San Antonio's northside.

EPISD alternative education placements totaled more than 3.3% of student enrollment.

Combined other El Paso County school districts totaled 1,381 alternative placements, 1% or 2% of enrollment.

No. 1 in the state is Arlington Independent School District, major urban district with 7% enrollment.

Reasons for ending up in alternative education include bringing weapons to school, or minor offenses such as "persistent misbehavior'.  

Alternative placement can last up to 90 days or be extended.

Alternative placements in El Paso include LaFarelle Alternative Middle School and Raymond Telles Academy.

There were also 140 elementary school alternative placements 2013-2014.

Anderson writes that administrators feel "students placed in alternative setting are more likely to encounter law enforcement and be prospective criminal offenders."  Also "less likely to graduate on time or graduate at all" according to Ray Lozano, EPISD executive director for school leadership operations.

The article distinguishes "discretionary removals" as removals that can be for anything including fights or misbehavior.

EPISD reported 1,524 discretionary removals 2013-2014.  Bigger than all other Texas school districts except Arlington and Houston.  Dallas has 170,000 students had reported only 683 discretionary removals.

EPISD principals and administrators decide to pilot a national framework called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support.  The issues in EPISD raises concerns on a national level of the "school to prison pipeline."

On the PBIS, Superintendent Royce Avery is quoted stating "It's really teaching kids exactly what you want them to do... As parents, we teach our kids what we want them to do and they do it.  It's the same philosophy for PBIS."

Article quotes, "All administrators emphasizes that the student conduct code is still in place regardless of PBIS, and teacher and student safety is priority."

Anderson, Lindsay. "EPISD Trying to Stem 'jarring' Number of Students Removed for Discipline." El Paso Times. 27 June 2015. Web <>.

EPISD | school to prison pipeline | juvenile delinquency | No Child Left Behind | zero tolerance policies | mass incarceration | youth criminalization | superpredator myth | latino | hispanic | black | exclusion | injustice | social justice | school justice | minorities | high school dropout | disparity | suspension | expulsion | punishment | prison | juvenile prison | infraction | gun violence | alienation | school police | SRO | restorative justice | reintegration | academic performance | Lindsay Anderson 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Introducing Agnes Wilcox | #Advocates | Prison Performing Arts | Janet Valdez #CJYO2014

Introducing Agnes Wilcox
Prison Performing Arts

Audio.mp3: DOWNLOAD

" provides great insight into a person's life."

During the Fall semester of 2014, Criminal Justice & Youth Outreach (CJYO) student, Janet Valdez, did her final presentation on the Prison Performing Arts project.  A note from Janet's reflective essay has been noted below.  Above you can download a speech given by Agnes Wilcox for the Ethical Society of St. Louis discussing the Prison Performing Arts program and its impact.  It's a great audio and I encourage everyone to listen to it.  Especially if you conduct creative expression programming in prisons or are interested in playwriting, theater, and Shakespeare.

This post will be one of many that will acknowledge the work of advocates to include audio you can download and LISTEN to, video, or interviews you can reference.  I think this type of information is especially helpful for individuals that are planning, or trying to figure out how to get involved in similar initiatives or even how to start their own in their community.  

Whether you're on a mobile device or your laptop, download the audio above, listen, share, and learn. When people want to know whether creative programming in the justice system "works" and wonder about data... how about the number of years people like Agnes Wilcox have dedicated to the participants of Prison Performing Arts initiatives?  How about the number of people that support the program's existence?  The number of participants?  The number of people that participate and attend the event?  Or even the people that learn about the program and are inspired to get involved, or to think about and talk about creative justice with others in ways that promote a new way of how a person thinks about the justice system? 

What I like about this post and future #Advocate posts, is that we can't talk about Agnes without also learning about everyone else that's involved with making a program like Prison Performing Arts exist, including the participants.  And in listening to the speech, you'll learn more about its impact in the people served by this program. 

Download the audio and pass it along!

The audio was retrieved from the source noted below:

Prison Performing Arts. Ethical Society of St. Louis Hosts Agnes Wilcox. October 2012. Sunday Platform, St. Louis. Prison Performing Arts News & Media. Web. December 2014.

"Researching programs for juveniles was a very different experience. In other courses we just read how there’s not enough programs, but we never investigated the types of programs that are offered to the youth. In this course we had to actually look them up and we had to research the program of our preference. In a previous class with professor Lecroy we had to do a project about The Beat Within (TBW). TBW is a program that is offered to youths in different states. As criminal justice majors we need to be more informed about the programs that are offered to youths to help them rehabilitate and have a successful re-entry to the community. It’s not necessary to be directly involved in the programs to help them we could support them by donating, or we could create or volunteer with a program in our city."

A note from CJYO student Janet Valdez

In addition, I encourage that you check out the interview below which was linked by Janet in her bibliography & notes section of the presentation. I've included Janet's citation below the quote and a link to the interview so you can read in full.  Janet's presentation was titled 'Learning through Art'.


Agnes Wilcox: I love when a new man comes into the group and he's having trouble reading, and three or four guys will say, "Oh, don't worry, it gets easier. You'll be fine in a couple of weeks." There's a member of our company currently who has great difficulty reading and pronouncing words. When we are in a circle reading, Kevin reads very slowly and relies on someone next to him to help him with the difficult words. And every man in the room waits.

Cooperman, Jeannette. "A Conversation with Agnes Wilcox." St. Louis Magazine. 24 July 2008. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Another source to listen to regarding the Prison Performing Arts program you will find on This American Life WBEZ radio archive.

Keywords + Tag = Criminal Justice & Youth Outreach | CJYO | St. Louis | New Mexico State University | Prison Performing Arts | Agnes Wilcox | literacy | St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center | stealth literacy | Ethical Society | Shakespeare | prison | creative expression | WBEZ | reading | Hamlet

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reviewing 'Art Behind Bars' Presentation by Taryn CCJDC Arts Project

Reviewing 'Art Behind Bars' Presentation by Taryn
Champaign Juvenile Detention Center Arts Project

An important article to review in understanding the connection between creative expression and juvenile detention.  So many quotes to pull out of this write up, stay tuned to our Voices Behind Walls  See the citation and link below.

Sullivan, Brian. “Champaign Juvenile Detention Center Arts Project.” Smile Politely Online Magazine 18 Oct 2012. Champaign-Urbana’s Online Magazine. Web.

Project P.O.O.C.H. #Positive #Opportunities #Obvious #Change with #Hounds

Project P.O.O.C.H.
#Positive #Opportunities #Obvious #Change with #Hounds

A video that I wanted to share with you all after viewing Victor's link to the PSA included below.  An important look at understanding creative expression through the experiences of not only humans.  

I thought about how the sort of knowledge youth pick up here can hopefully be applied or connected to professional opportunities out there.  Hopefully.  Check out more on the program at the link below and the video.

Project POOCH PSA: click here

Keywords + Tag = Criminal Justice & Youth Outreach | CJYO | Oregon | New Mexico State University | Project POOCH | Project Pooch | Animal Planet | MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility | Anthony Washington | Joan Dalton 

The Facility History of MacLaren Youth Correctional & Amos Reed | CJYO 2014

The Facility History
of MacLaren Youth Correctional
& Amos Reed

Victor of CJYO conducted his presentation on Project Pooch, learn more here and the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.  In the Facility History of Victor's presentation he cited an article from the Oregon Herald published in 2013 titled 'MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility Employees Honored for Excellence'.  The discussion not only focused on the tone of how the writer acknowledges MacLaren's conflicted past, but also the commentary included in the article which you can read here that gives glimpses to what people experienced that were committed to the facility click here.  

Tapping into the Google Newspaper archives, I discovered an article published in August 12, 1963 titled 'Crowding Plauges MacLaren'. It includes details debating the facilities approach to incarceration and a look at the facility's superintendent, Amos Reed.

Here is a quote from the article.  You can read the full article by clicking on the link below.

"Another factor is the age and background of the boys, many of whom are at the stage where they refuse to form close associations with others, particularly with adults.

The personality of the superintendent may also be a cause.  His knowledge of correctional work is voluminous, he seems to be an excellent administrator, and he knows how to deal with Oregon's inscrutable Legislature.  

But Amos Reed is a serious reserved man who seldom smiles. The boys at MacLaren greet him formally on the grounds, and only rare does he know them by sight.

He does know their backgrounds, however, and their needs and he has built at MacLaren, a program designed to offer something for every boy who is sent there."

To read the complete article click here.

Wilson, Jack. "Crowding Plagues MacLaren." Eugene Register Guard 12 Aug 1963. Google Newspaper Archive. Online.

Keywords + Tag = Criminal Justice & Youth Outreach | CJYO | Oregon | Woodburn | Marion County | New Mexico State University | Google Newspaper Archive | Eugene Register Guard | Jack Wilson | Amos Reed | superintendent | MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility | Project Pooch 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Birth of Montgomery County Correctional Facility | CJYO2014

The Birth of Montgomery County Correctional Facility

To make the newspaper article bigger and more readable, simply click on each one.  This was found after reviewing the "Helping Youth" presentation by Vanessa on the Class Acts Arts Project Youth ArtReach program in Maryland at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.  The article provides information on the facility's history dating back to September 4, 2001 when it was published in the Frederick Post.

Boin, Sonia. "Montgomery Jail will be a 'Self-Contained City'." The Frederick Post 4 Sept 2001. The Newspaper Archive. Vol. 91, No. 225. Cover & A-16. Online.

Keywords + Tag = Criminal Justice & Youth Outreach | CJYO | Montgomery County Correctional Facility | Maryland | Class Acts Arts | Project Youth ArtReach | New Mexico State University | The Newspaper Archive | The Frederick Post | Montgomery | Sonia Boin | Robert Green | warden