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Posts Tagged ‘alternative’

Photo: Honolulu Civil Beat.
The inside of the Hale Lanipolua Assessment Center, which is run by Hale Kipa and serves as an alternative to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility. 

Hawaii has a different approach to helping kids who get in trouble. There’s an understanding that girls in particular often get started in crime after serious childhood abuse — and that locking them up doesn’t solve anything. (See my 2012 post about a Boston theatrical production by former inmates that spelled out just how females can get trapped in an endless cycle of crime and punishment.)

Claire Healy writes at the Washington Post, “When Mark Patterson took over as administrator of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in 2014, he inherited 500 acres of farm ranch — and the care of 26 boys and seven girls between 13 and 19 years old.

“By 2016, his facility, in Kailua, Oahu, was only holding between five and six girls at a time. And in June, the last girl left the facility. For the first time, there are no girls incarcerated in the state of Hawaii.

“Patterson said this moment is ’20 years in the making,’ and the result of a systemwide effort to divert girls from the judicial system and into trauma-based care programs. The number of incarcerated boys has also lowered significantly in the past decade, he added.

“Patterson said HYCF is a last resort — the kids there ‘have run away from programs 10 to 11 times’ and are the most vulnerable of the high-risk youth. But various state officials have agreed that ‘we no longer want to keep sending our kids to prison,’ Patterson said.

‘What I’m trying to do is end the punitive model that we have so long used for our kids, and we replace it with a therapeutic model.’

“He added, ‘Do we really have to put a child in prison because she ran away? What kind of other environment is more conducive for her to heal and be successful in the community?’

“Hawaii isn’t the only state to reach zero girls in long-term placement facilities. According to Lindsay Rosenthal, director of the Vera Institute’s Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration, Vermont has zero long-term placement facilities for girls, and for nine months in 2020, Maine had zero incarcerated girls statewide. Since February 2021, New York City hasn’t had more than two girls in the state’s juvenile placement facility at any given time.

“This is part of a larger trend in juvenile justice reform: Since 2000, more than 1,000 juvenile facilities have closed, including two-thirds of the largest facilities. And between 2000 and 2018, youth incarceration rates dropped by more than half, according to the Square One Project, a justice reform initiative.

“But just as women are the fastest-growing prison population, the proportion of girls in juvenile detention has increased even as overall numbers have gone down. … As advocates point out, the majority of incarcerated girls are in prison for low-level offenses, often influenced by a history of abuse — as noted in various research — or systemic challenges, such as poverty.

“Rosenthal [emphasized] that a state reaching zero doesn’t necessarily reflect progress — Vermont has sent some girls to facilities in New Hampshire, and placed at least one girl into an adult prison, for example — without the presence of community-based alternative programming. HYCF is an example of a facility that has seen such an investment pay off, she said.

“Gender-focused programming is essential, Rosethal added, because of ‘the criminalization of sexual abuse.’ This legacy, she said, reaches back to colonization and slavery in the United States and has resulted in the disproportionately high incarceration rates of Black and Indigenous women and girls. …

“Patterson said the movement to replace punitive systems with trauma-informed care in Hawaii’s juvenile justice system reaches back to 2004, when Judge Karen Radius, a now-retired First Circuit Family Court judge, founded Girls Court. One of the first in the nation, the program aimed to address the specific crimes and trauma history of girls. …

“Many influential programs in the state followed the formation of Girls Court. In 2009, Project Kealahou launched as a six-year, federally funded program aimed at improving services for Hawaii’s at-risk female youth. And in 2013, Hawaii created the Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force to analyze the juvenile justice system in Hawaii and provide policy recommendations aimed at reducing the HYCF population.

“Then, in 2018, Patterson partnered with the Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration and drafted a ’10-year strategy to get to zero.’ The overarching goal was to focus on the underlying trauma the youth were suffering from, instead of the crimes they were charged with, Patterson said.

“Before working with youths, Patterson was the warden of Hawaii’s only women’s prison, the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC), across the street. He said his time there showed him how many of the women there could trace their trauma back to their home life as a child.

“That same year, he set out transitioning HYCF into the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center, remodeling the program around trauma-informed care — a framework for care providers to understand and consider the impact an individual’s trauma history has on their life and health. Today’s campus has a homeless shelter, an assessment center, a vocational program serving youths ages 15 to 24, a farm managed by a nonprofit and a high school for high-risk youths.

“Guiding this transformation was Patterson’s goal of creating a pu’uhonua — a place created within a traditional Hawaiian village for conflict resolution and forgiveness — for Hawaii’s most vulnerable youths.

“As Patterson described it, a pu’uhonua acknowledges and identifies a wrong that has been committed in the village. But unlike a punitive system, ‘we’re going to teach you how to live with the village and manage the wrong,’ he said. ‘So that you’re no longer an outcast, but you’re still welcome back.’ ”

More at the Post, here.

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Photo: AP.
After Greta Thunberg went back to Sweden on a sailboat, the concept of flygskam – “flight shame” in Swedish – became common in Europe. Today increasing numbers of people are finding they are enjoying trains and bikes, and other transportation alternatives a lot more than airport hassles.

Yesterday, Suzanne and Erik took their kids on their first train trip. As a big fan of trains myself, I’m eager to hear how these experienced young fliers feel about Amtrak’s more leisurely mode of getting somewhere.

If they become train converts, they won’t be alone, as Stephanie Hanes writes at the Christian Science Monitor.

“The last time Jack Hansen took an airplane, he was a junior at the University of Vermont. To return from a semester abroad in Copenhagen, he flew from Denmark, stopped in Iceland, and landed in New York. 

“But the next term, one of his professors asked students to calculate their individual energy usage. And when Mr. Hansen did the math, he realized that just one leg of that international flight accounted for more energy, and more greenhouse gas emissions, than all the other things he had done that year combined – the driving and heating and lighting and eating and everything else.

“ ‘I just couldn’t justify it,’ he says. ‘It really is an extreme. It’s an extreme amount of energy, an extreme amount of pollution.’

“So Mr. Hansen decided to stop flying. That was in 2015. Since then, he has traveled by train and bike and car, and has even written a song about the trials of getting home to Chicago on an overnight bus. But he has not been on an airplane.   

“And he has never found travel more joyful, he says. …

“With more people recognizing the climate impact of the aviation industry, and more people interested in lowering their own carbon footprint, a new ethos of ‘slow,’ climate-friendly travel is taking hold. And those at the forefront of this movement – travelers like Mr. Hansen who have pledged to go ‘flight free’ for a year or more – claim that their new approach from getting here to there is surprisingly fun.

“ ‘The motivation initially is the emissions, but once you try it, you think, “Why have I been torturing myself?” ‘ says Anna Hughes, the head of Flight Free UK, a group based in the United Kingdom that has collected some 10,000 pledges from people to eschew flying. …

“Go more slowly, she says, and travel begins to return to what it once was: a slow metamorphosis of one place to another, a sense of space, an unwinding of time. …

“But there is more underlying the satisfaction of land-based travel, psychologists say. A growing body of research increasingly ties environment- and climate-friendly behavior to a personal sense of well-being. In a recent Environmental Research Letters article, for instance, author Stephanie Johnson Zawadzki of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands explored the stereotype that environmental living is all about sacrifice. She found numerous studies showing that people not only felt better when they took easy ‘green’ actions – choosing a paper bag at the grocery store, for instance, or buying a ‘sustainable’ product – but also reported an improved sense of well-being when those actions required more give. …

“Part of this, psychologists speculate, is that taking actions to counteract global warming helps counteract ‘climate distress,’ an increasingly recognized psychological phenomenon.  

“Climate distress, explains New York-based psychologist Wendy Greenspun, is ‘a range of emotional reactions from sadness to despair to grief to anger and rage, hope and shame and guilt.’ And one of the key ways to build resilience to it, she says, is to behave like part of the solution, and to creatively connect with others doing the same.

“ ‘Guilt maybe leads us to recognize that we care and we want to repair,’ she says.”

More at the Monitor, here.

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Sometimes I get blog ideas from Facebook, which is one reason I can’t see myself pulling out despite all the irrelevant, unwanted clutter there.

Former colleague Scott G. recently posted a curious item on Facebook about turning pineapple waste into leather — real leather, not “fruit leather.” It’s much better for the environment than animal-based leathers and more appealing to sustainability-conscious consumers than petroleum-based ones.

Adele Peters at FastCoexist says that Carmen Hijosa got the idea for a new, sustainable industry on a visit to the Philippines years ago. But first she needed a PhD.

“When leather expert Carmen Hijosa visited the Philippines to consult with the leather industry there, she discovered two big problems: The leather was poor quality, and producing it was bad both for the local environment and the people involved.

“But as she traveled around the country, she had an epiphany. The Philippines grows a lot of pineapples — and ends up with a lot of wasted pineapple leaves. The leaves, she realized, had certain features that might make it possible to turn them into a plant-based leather alternative. …

“She also looked at other local plants, such as banana fibers and sisal. But only pineapple fibers were strong and flexible enough to handle the manufacturing process she had in mind.

“Hijosa left her work in the traditional leather industry and spent the next seven years at the Royal College of Art in London, developing the material into a patented product while she earned a PhD. Now running a startup — at age 63 — she’s ramping up manufacturing of her pineapple-based leather, called Piñatex. …

“Her startup, Ananas Anam, has built its production from 500 meters to 2,000 meters, and [by August], she expects the next batch to be around 8,000 meters. But as the company’s capacity grows, demand is already outpacing supply. Companies like Puma and Camper have made prototypes with the material, and others are already using it.”

What an impressive woman! More here.

Photo: FastCoexist
Because pineapple leaves would normally be wasted, turning them into leather, is an extra source of income for farmers.

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Looking for an affordable venue for your chamber music group, your living-room theatrical production, your poetry group’s public readings? Need a performance space with a cat to give your book promotion that certain je ne sais quoi?

Nidhi Subbaraman has a nice piece at the Boston Globe‘s betaboston site on a tool that can help you find the perfect space.

“Gregorian Oriental Rugs opens at 10 a.m. every weekday, and with wood floors and high ceilings, this converted paper mill in Newton is an airy showroom for antique Turkish flat-weaves, Ikats from India, and countless other intricate, handmade imports from the Far East and Middle East. Some evenings, however, the expensive carpets and rugs are folded, stacked, and put aside, and the store is transformed into an intimate performance venue for local artists. …

“Most people hear about this unusual event space from friends. But to reach community art groups, Gregorian recently listed his venue on SpaceFinder Mass, a kind of Airbnb for the performance world that came to Massachusetts in January. The service connects artists hunting for budget performance or rehearsal space with unusual, informal, and affordable venues.

“ ‘We talk about SpaceFinder being a discovery tool,’ said Lisa Niedermeyer, its program director. Venues can share their calendar for availability, and artists can search by square footage, rates, and timing. The website also handles payments for the bookings.

“Started in New York three years ago, SpaceFinder was developed by Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit group that supports artists. SpaceFinder lists more than 6,600 spaces in 11 cities in the United States, plus Toronto, where you can rent a pirate ship. In Philadelphia, artists can rent a mosaic sculpture garden. …

“SpaceFinder was launched in Massachusetts in partnership with the Arts and Business Council of Boston, and more than 200 venues in the state are listed, most of which are themselves in the arts business — small museums and theaters, for example, dance studios and art galleries.

“In addition to Gregorian, other outliers include a fitness club in Dorchester and a winery in Southampton. …

“To connect with active art communities in far-flung corners of the state, Fractured Atlas reached out to Seth Lepore, an independent artist in Easthampton, to spread the word about the service among artists and to enlist venues.

“ ‘Space is a huge issue here in Western Massachusetts,’ said Lepore, who helped connect SpaceFinder with local studios.” More here.

Photo: Jessica Renaldi/Globe staff
Gregorian Oriental Rugs on a regular work day.

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Here’s another nice story about using the arts to inspire kids who are turned off by school in troubled districts.

Writes Patricia Cohen at the NY Times, “Stationed in front of one of his large self-portraits, the artist Chuck Close raised his customized wheelchair to balance on two wheels, seeming to defy the laws of gravity.  The chair’s unlikely gymnastics underlined the points that Mr. Close was making to his audience, 40 seventh and eighth graders from Bridgeport, Conn.: Break the rules and use limitations to your advantage.

“The message had particular resonance for these students, and a few educators and parents, who had come by bus on Monday from Roosevelt School to the Pace Gallery in Chelsea for a private tour of Mr. Close’s show. Roosevelt, located in a community with high unemployment and crushing poverty, recently had one of the worst records of any school in the state, with 80 percent of its seventh graders testing below grade level in reading and math.

“Saved from closure by a committed band of parents, the school was one of eight around the country chosen last year to participate in Turnaround Arts, a new federally sponsored public-and-private experiment that puts the arts at the center of the curriculum.”

Read about the reactions of the students — and more at the NY Times.

Photograph: Kirsten Luce for the NY Times
The artist Chuck Close giving a private tour of his show to students from Bridgeport, Conn.

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Back when my sister was teaching tai chi and before she decided to go to medical school, I was skeptical of Eastern health practices.

I should have taken lessons then, but I’ve learned the error of my ways and am more open to trying new things. I told John I’d been trying to find a weekend tai chi class that might be good for back pain.

Last week, he called about a sign he saw in Arlington:  Zhen Ren Chuan, a martial arts studio, had begun to offer tai chi.

Saturday I went.

Tai chi is not as easy as I thought watching ladies in San Francisco and Boston parks. So many things to think about at once! In that sense alone it is a great way to clear your mind of everything else. I will go again. It wasn’t quite like this video, as it was taught by an American who kept it very simple for a beginner, but I liked it.

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