The United States is the only nation in the world that has not signed the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. This omission means that the U.S. continues to detain minors in prison-like facilities, sometimes for years on end, and often in conditions that seem to violate basic human rights.
Worse still, the prison administration often places these minors in isolation to protect them from the adult inmates, causing further harm. It’s a situation that has been brought to the forefront in the documentary “Juvies,” which takes an unflinching look at the lives of these young prisoners.
The film delves into some of the most disturbing cases of minors in the U.S. prison system, such as the tragic story of Khalief Browder. Accused of stealing a backpack, he was held in pre-trial detention for two years. When he was eventually released, he spiraled into depression and committed suicide.
Through the film, viewers learn about how minors end up in prison, often as a result of the judicialization of society. Even in schools, police officers now patrol hallways and seemingly minor student misconduct can lead to criminal charges. This sends children and young adults straight into the criminal justice system, which can often be difficult to escape.
The documentary sheds light on some of the harsh realities that young prisoners face, from the bleakness of life behind bars to the psychological trauma of intimacy deprivation. However, it also highlights the resilience of these young people and the hope they maintain even in the darkest of circumstances.
Overall, “Juvies” is a film that is not easily forgotten. It is a powerful indictment of the U.S. criminal justice system and a call to action to change the way that minors are treated within it. If you want to learn more about this topic and gain a better understanding of the lives of young prisoners, we encourage you to watch “Juvies.”