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Just Kids film premiere and arts night tell story of juvenile justice in Maryland

November 25, 2013: “How would you feel if you were defined by the worst mistake you ever made?” one of the panelists asked the audience. “The message that the current system is sending is that we don’t believe in redemption for our kids.” The entire theater sat silent for a moment as people pondered that question. For many in the room, it was news to them that in Maryland, youth between the ages 14 and 17 who have been accused of certain offenses are automatically tried as adults. 
The Just Kids Partnership is on a mission to change that, one moviegoer at a time. As collaborators in Just Kids, the Public Justice Center and Community Law In Action have produced the new documentary The Truth About Our Youth. The film, created by the Megaphone Project and funded in part by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, follows the compelling stories of four individuals who spent time in adult detention centers as teenagers, and the aftermath of that experience which continues to affect their lives today. The film’s premiere on November 14 filled Charles Theater to capacity as people came to hear about juvenile justice in Maryland. The screening was followed by a panel discussion featuring experts in the field. As the discussion went on, many among the audience expressed disbelief at the current systems in place, and voiced support for reform.   
Earlier in October, Just Kids also presented “Art with a Story,” a visual and performance art exhibit at the Creative Alliance. The event featured artwork by Just Kids’ youth leaders and performances by spoken word artists and dancers. Visitors got a taste of solitary confinement through a simulation exhibit that recreated what a jail cell looks, sounds, and feels like. The event raised over $4,000, which will enable 250 youth to travel to Annapolis and get firsthand experience in advocating for reform in the criminal justice system. 
Just Kids encourages you to call on the Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to put an end to the automatic transfer of youth to the adult criminal justice system. Find out how to take action here
Clips from the documentary, The Truth About Our Youth, are available at the Just Kids YouTube channel

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