"Young In Prison offers incarcerated children in developing countries a new chance. These children live under terrible circumstances. After release, they often end up in the same life without perspective as before. Reintegration projects focusing on creativity and sports provide the children with self confidence and a new perspective. Simultaneously we work on sustainable mentality and policy changes, both in the direct environment of the youth and on a political level. This integral approach pays heed to this often forgotten group of children."
In our Western society we believe that this accounts only for those who are accountable. Many would agree that children that are peer pressured, motivated by fear, intense poverty, gang culture or otherwise, are not necessarily responsible actors. It is held increasingly universally that this belief is correct, be it through psychology, philosophy, religion, politics or science. Regardless of the acts, we can easily agree that a 6 year olds shouldn't have to share cells with as far up as 21 year olds, with nothing to do. Through in-prison programmes and post-release coaching and support Young In Prison can increasingly prove to authorities and policy makers that a different approach may be viable and desirable, while effectively providing creative workshops and activities to the imprisoned children.
In 2011, 1000 Drawings Amsterdam supported the Bonnytoun (House of Safety) project. Bonnytoun is an awaiting trial center located in the Wynberg area of Cape Town, South Africa. The centre houses boys aged 10-18 who have been arrested yet not convicted. They live in nine dorms of twenty boys each, and each dorm is named after a planet. They are sorted according to their physical size, so that the power dynamic within each dorm can be as equal as possible. Children spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few years in this facility, but it has been our [YIP] experience that the average stay is three to six months.