Bennington County has the highest rate of incarceration in the State of Vermont. Why is this and how does this impact the community and those caught up in the criminal justice system? More importantly, what can be done to change the way the criminal justice system comes into contact with and treats youth?
Using oral history and participatory problem solving strategies we will attempt to build a full picture of how this happened, who it is affecting, how it impacts them and the larger community. We will explore some of the historical, race, gender and class dynamics of this system. Our goal will be to develop a full and nuanced understanding of this complex issue and arrive at ways that the current system can change to be more just and improve public safety.
Students will learn how to use oral history to tap the stories and ideas of diverse stakeholders around criminal justice. We will use mapping and participatory practices to document and share what we learn. A final project of our class will be a collaborative, multi media presentation that can be shared locally and throughout the state.