Bellarmine Forum 2013 Highlights The Art and Soul of Restorative Justice

On Friday at noon, the powerful young voices of the Street Poets wafted over the expansive lawn in front of St. Roberts Hall on the Loyola Marymount campus in a Poetry Slam, one of the dozens of events in the 21-day Bellarmine 2013 Restoring Justice Forum.

While the Street Poets riffed on incarceration, redemption and forgiveness, representatives from several restorative justice agencies and organizations invited students to get involved in various campaigns and causes.

The soulfulness of the Street Poets was a reminder of how important Art is to the Restorative Justice Movement.

Sandwiched between the Restorative Justice poster, a recreation of the 1977 art print by famed artist John August Swanson, “Man Who Goes To Jail,”  and a quiet trip to the permanent LMU Interfaith Peace (and sculpture) Garden, there is plenty of art to be explored on campus.

Closing on November 15, Prison Nation:  Posters on the Prison Industrial Complex features 75 riveting posters on the Prison Industrial Complex from the archives of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.  Collected over 40 years from artists, activists and organizations around the country and the world, Prison Nation gives a voice to protests against such issues as race, class and gender criminalization. capital punishment and juvenile justice.  The exhibition is on display in the sunny Thomas P. Kelly, Jr. Student Art Gallery just inside the Loyola Blvd. entrance to the campus.

While Prison Nation displays the complexities of the issue, Prison Art and Experience, curated by Franky Carrillo, Jr., on exhibit through December 3rd in the William H. Hannon Library, is very personal, chronicling the journey of young Franky Carrillo, Junior’s wrongful conviction as a teenager, his 20 years behind bars and his life on the outside, post exoneration. 

Letters to and from the inside, his prison blues and wristband ID, court documents, beautiful art work drawn on scrap paper and even the pencil nub he used to create, provide an intimate portrait of Franky’s life behind bars in the six California state prisons that held him for 20 years.

As a living example of restorative justice, following his exoneration, Franky Carrillo, Jr. became a full time student at LMU and a vocal advocate for prison reform.  

Finally, Voices of Incarceration, running from January 25 to March 16, in the Laband Art Gallery, will embody a buffet of art work by professional artists outside the walls and prisoner-artists on the inside, as they challenge the injustice of the Prison Industrial Complex and provide evidence of the restorative value of art.


Learn More/Get Involved

Compliments of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the 26-page Prison Nation newsletter, contains an alphabetical, annotated list of 41 active organizations, services and resources involved in Justice issues. Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find, what you can do and how you can get involved.

All Of Us Or None – fighting against re-entry discrimination.

Californians United For A Responsible Budget [C.U.R.B.] -  a coalition of over 50 organizations seeking to CURB prison spending.

Families To Amend California’s 3-Strikes [F.A.C.T.S.] – a coalition of organizations committed to abolishing 3-strikes.

Friends Outside – provides resources for inmate families nationwide.

Get On The Bus – unites families through prison visits.

Homeboy Industries - trains and supports gang-involved and the formerly incarcerated, providing meaningful career paths.

Justice Not Jails – a multi-faith coalition to aggregate and enhance the faith community’s involvement in mass incarceration.

A New Way Of Life – provides housing and support services to citizens formerly incarcerated.

The Real Cost Of Prisons Project - brings justice activists, policy researchers and artists nationwide to explore the immediate and long-term costs of incarceration.

The Youth Justice Coalition [YJC] – Involved in all youth justice issues and juvenile rights.