Restorative Justice and the Arts Public Investment Plan (2017)
Jennifer Cole, Metro Arts; Juvenile Court; Nashville Career Advancement Center; Oasis Center
The Juvenile Court, under the leadership of Judge Sheila Calloway, is innovatively approaching juvenile justice through the way in which it provides for the care, protection and personal development of the youth who pass through the system. The Court is committed to capturing the positive potential of its clients through assessing each individual’s talents, skills and needs. Once an assessment is complete, the Court connects the child and his/her family with community services to assist their positive personal development. Court officials and families/guardians work to support that young person to bolster resiliency and avert re-offending. The Court continues these alternatives to sentencing measures with an eye to building a stronger community and support network for youth. Even those young people who receive sentences are supported via a group counseling/service learning program (TOP) aimed at positive behaviors, team work and soft skill development. Finally, those youth that are incarcerated are provided a variety of programs aimed at education and life skill development while at the Juvenile Detention Center. We believe arts can and should be part of the healing and resiliency framework offered by the Juvenile Court system.
The arts are a proven tool that supports youth development and community resiliency. Many of the young people who find themselves in Juvenile Court or the Juvenile Detention Center have not had full access to explore the arts as a healing, economic or community tool. They often grow up in neighborhoods where the barriers of poverty and lack of cultural resources combine to limit their time creating. Together, Juvenile Court (JJC), Metro Arts, the Oasis Center, and Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC) and with other community partners, will create a framework for art interventions within the restorative justice system in Nashville.
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