Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baltimore Detention Center

Last Friday, thanks to Dr. K. McCammant, Visual Journalism visited the Baltimore City Detention Center to draw and interview some of the inmates there. It was one of the most intense classes that we had due to the high security checks and intimidating surroundings. By the end of class, the students and inmates were jovially sharing stories and learning from each others' experiences. It was a wonderful day for all of us. Oh yeah, they got some pretty great drawings done too!

Ian Moore

Dingding Hu

Jessica Jahnle & Charles Taylor

Jess Jahnle
Detention Center Visit

I would have to say that visiting the Detention Center in Baltimore was one of the most exciting and interesting trips we have taken this semester with Visual Journalism.  On the drive from MICA over to the detention center I remember being very nervous.  Two weeks prior to our visit Dr. McCammant came and talked to us, giving us warnings about what to expect.  When we arrived we all had to walk through metal detectors and be searched.  I unfortunately had underwire in my bra and was not allowed to go through until the supervisor came down and approved me.  This ended up taking almost 45 min.  I was just thankful I was not alone and Shadra was there as well.   Because we had a scheduled visit with a class/group, we were allowed through but the typical person going in for a visit gets rejected for that day if they do not make it through the detector after three attempts.  It would be devastating if someone went in to visit a family member or friend but was not able to make it through security.  In addition to being nervous this intense security scared the heck out of me.  After we got through security we walked through many gates and got visitor passes.  We walked into a small room with tables and chairs with drawings hung up on the walls. 
It was very awkward at first, and the detainees kept on asking us if we were scared or what they had told us about them.  Once we got to talking I almost forgot that they were locked up.
It was interesting how in the room there were no clocks or windows and how easy it was to lose all concept of time.  I am not even completely sure how much time we spent in there.  Just sitting in that room for however long we were there for made me anxious I cannot imagine living there for 3 months – 3 years.       
I would definitely like to return for another visit.  After knowing first hand what to expect I would be more prepared. 

Kayla Bickers

Shadra Strickland

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