'Girls Incarcerated' Shows Truth Of Many Imprisoned Girls' Lives
Mistakes, Family History Of Jail Time, Bad Situations Mark Many Of The Inmates' Stories
Kudos to #Netflix for coming out with a series that sheds light on the realities young inmates face.
With Girls Incarcerated, viewers are taken inside a prison for young women, and while it's a no brainer to realize that these girls are not exactly living their best lives behind bars, the series gives its audience a distinct insight into the lives these girls were living prior to their arrival to the jail.
Some might argue that those who go to jail have a choice in their actions that get them there in the first place, but in hearing some of their histories, it's no shock as to why or how these girls ended up in jail. A family history of drug use or prison terms peppers these girls' lives, and in some cases, these girls come from poverty or have endured abuse that has made them angry at the world or, at minimum, not set themselves up for a great deal of success.
I've taught a variety of students over the years, and certainly, I've had my dealings with young adults who have had a range of demons they're trying to cope with. On the mild end, there were those who used marijuana to regulate their tempers, believing that regular use of the drug took the edge off their anger. I've had a student ask me what to do when he thought he was addicted to cocaine after one try of it; given I've never even had a sniff of marijuana, I was wildly unqualified to respond, but these are the sorts of questions I've come to deal with over the years in my profession. I've also had one student - I think he must have been 19 at the time - wander into my classroom and say rather loudly, "Yo! What's crackin', Teach?" and then ask me if I wanted to check out the ankle bracelet gifted to him by the local constabulary. It would have been easy to dismiss these students who were struggling as having chosen their path and that was that, but there's a whole background to each one of these stories that I don't have time to go into here.
These are stories of abuse no child should ever have to endure, and certainly, enough to scar them several times over life and render them completely jaded about how the world works for the rest of their lives. I see shades of those same stories while watching #GirlsIncarcerated, and it should really give people pause before they start tagging people with a prison record as just being "bad people."
Certainly, there's a fair share of "bad people" in the world, but Girls Incarcerated also illustrates that those with a criminal record can be victims of seriously disturbed family members or just seriously troubled backgrounds. There's one girl who reconnected with her biological mom but was then held captive while she and the mom's boyfriend repeatedly injected her with meth and heroin. There's another whose mother and father have had a history of trouble with the law and were simply absent from their daughter's life. Where else was she likely to end up but prison? There's also one young woman who was involved in an automobile accident and ended up charged with involuntary vehicular manslaughter - an accident where her friend ultimately was killed. She chose to go to the prison featured in the series.
If anything, Girls Incarcerated shows us that we need to recognize that while there are "bad people" who should be in jail, interventions with kids could maybe set them on a path where they wouldn't return to a life behind bars and could potentially lead successful lives if they're offered opportunities to be successful. The show demonstrates to us that while these girls are full of anger and hatred for the things that have happened to them, they do eventually have a chance for a future that doesn't necessarily involve crime, drugs or prison.
Doesn't everyone deserve that chance at hope?