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Prison replica offers realistic education

Posted: Thursday, Aug 29th, 2013


Barrios Unidos recently completed this model of Pelican Bay Prison. Situated atop a trailer, the prison was on display Tuesday in front of the santa Cruz County Courthouse. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


SANTA CRUZ — A new model depicting Pelican Bay State Prison was on display Tuesday in front of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse.

The replica prison, which is situated atop a trailer, was completed about two months ago by Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos as part of a Prison Project, which aims to get the message of “education over incarceration” out to the public.

“This prison cell, which was largely built by former inmates, is a conversation starter,” said Sarah Emmert, Prison Project coordinator. “There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in our country and more than 11,000 juveniles in prison in California. We can do better than that. Our goal is to push for rehabilitative alternatives. We want to get our communities involved in this, our police, our judges, lawyers, educators and leaders.”

Emmert said that putting juveniles behind bars deprives them of many basic social building blocks. Many of these youths, upon release, simply begin to spiral downwards socially because they feel they don’t fit in, that they’re outcasts, and they’ve missed many of their social cues, Emmert said.

“However, our Juvenile Hall does a great job in dealing with our juveniles in that they provide a quality education program,” Emmert said. “But that education has to begin in our schools and at home.”

For the complete article see the 08-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-29-2013 paper.


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