Genuine Voices: Music as a second chance


Each year about 500,000 youth are brought to U.S. detention centers. 70% of them are held for nonviolent offenses. They are disproportionately youth of color. More than 40% have learning disability. Of those diagnosed with clinical depression, one third became depressed after their detention. (For more information on youth incarceration in the U.S., see this Wired article.)

Musician Juri Love responded to this situation by giving youth in detention opportunities to create music. Juri is the founder of Genuine Voices, a nonprofit launched in 2001 out of the Berklee College of Music. She leads volunteers teaching in juvenile detention centers and after school programs in Massachusetts, Washington state and Arizona. She is also writing a guide to help other detention centers replicate her program. Juri draws on her own struggles as a source of strength—she has escaped physical and sexual abuse and overcome PTSD and homelessness on her path to making and teaching music. Join us as our correspondent, Erica Cao, talks with Juri and with one of her students about the unique and powerful work done through Genuine Voices.

Download the podcast here. More music samples from participating youth are available at Soundcloud and at the Genuine Voices site.