There will be a free showing of the documentary, They Call Us Monsters, on Wednesday, March 1, at 12:30 p.m. in Wilde Auditorium. The documentary details life in the Compound, a high-security facility in the middle of Sylmar Juvenile Hall in California. Inside the Compound, the kids look the same—almost entirely Hispanic and African-American boys. They are LA County’s high-risk juvenile offenders, tried as adults for violent crimes and facing decades, if not hundreds of years in adult prison.
Until now, no independent filmmaker had gained access to film in the Compound.
In California, juveniles between the ages of 14-17 can be tried as adults and receive sentences longer than their natural life expectancy.
The message rings loud and clear: these kids are lost, defined by and no better than their worst act.
In the last three years, California has passed the first two bills in three decades (the second of which we followed for this documentary) to decrease juvenile sentences. This movement has resparked a national debate over the very nature of our most violent juvenile offenders. The only group silent from the debate are the minors themselves. This documentary gives them a voice.
Directed by Ben Lear, son of award-winning writer and producer Norman Lear.
Doors open at 12 p.m.
Documentary begins at 12:30 p.m.
Q&A with panelists from 2:10-2:45 p.m.
Moderator - Lisa Nkonoki, film producer, writer and activist
Documentary Director - Ben Lear
University of Hartford Director of Criminal Justice - Albert DiChiara, PhD
Connecticut Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Lubbie Harper
Refreshments available 2:45-3:15 p.m.