On one wall inside the ART 180 studio, hand-drawn signs called for unity, fairness over prejudice, and education not incarceration.
The artwork was part of the Performing Statistics exhibit, a project that connects incarcerated teens with artists, designers, educators and advocates to change the juvenile justice system. It also provided the backdrop for a town hall held Thursday night to discuss ways to better the system.
Attended by Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice director Andrew Block, the town hall was divided into four talking points: prevention, alternatives to youth incarceration, family and community engagement, and providing re-entry resources to youth.
Sitting on a platform intended to mimic the look of a cell, Block said the DJJ has focused more on investing in early prevention efforts.