Introduction: Kids in Jail (03:01)
Director Larry Lynn explores the lives of inmates at Burnaby Youth Custody Centre in British Columbia. The identities of the film’s subjects have been obscured to comply with Canadian law. The director has been visiting the kids to teach them about filmmaking.
Lynn’s wife, actress Babs Chula, is helping inmates find their voices through storytelling. One participant recalls building a fort out of furniture and blankets. Another recalls the depression she felt when first incarcerated.
Detention Center Romance (06:09)
Chula asks how kids manage to meet and date while incarcerated. “Phoenix” and "Diamond" fell in love after meeting at a Christmas concert. They describe dysfunctional upbringings; Diamond says her mother chose drugs over her.
Being Intimate While Detained (03:22)
The Burnaby center is no longer coed due to a recent policy change. Chula talks to girls about intimacy. Phoenix and Diamond chat through windows and lipread to communicate.
Conflict Resolution (02:54)
Lynn explains the story of “Romeo & Juliet” to three girls. Chula uses the Shakespearean love story to talk about dating at the center. Diamond becomes offended during the workshop, leading to a volatile confrontation.
Reasons for Incarceration (06:43)
Phoenix describes the circumstances that led to him killing two people who had done nothing to him. He wishes he could bring them back. Diamond is incarcerated for running over and paralyzing a cop that she says once assaulted her.
Diamond anticipates returning to drug trafficking when she is free and dumps Phoenix to limit his exposure. He plans to stay clean and seek a plumbing apprenticeship after release.
Love Song (05:31)
Phoenix records a ballad for Diamond, and she begins to doubt her decision to break up. Snow falls on the 25th of December, and the kids again celebrate with a concert. Phoenix anticipates being released in 13 months.
Diamond does not want to leave though she will soon be eligible for release. Juvenile detention has been her “comfort zone” since she was 13, and she is afraid of failing on the outside.
Release and Reoffending (04:39)
Once inmates leave the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre, they are not allowed to have contact with anyone in the institution. A distraught Phoenix tries to contact Diamond anyway and learns she is selling cannabis. She is later arrested for drug trafficking.
Credits: Kids in Jail (01:19)
Credits: Kids in Jail
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