Season one of docuseries “Girls Incarcerated” aired on Netflix earlier this month. The docuseries follows several young women in Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility located in Madison, Ind.
Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility calls the girls “students” instead of inmates. The facility has a high school diploma and GED program in which students are required to complete coursework in one or the other. Upon entry, each student is given an individualized rehabilitation program to complete: drug abuse, communication, coping skills, etc.
Throughout season one, the girls had to undergo drastic changes, mostly for the better. The staff at Madison stresses the importance of making positive choices and how the students can change their lives.
The students in Madison, specifically the ones the show focuses on, come from different backgrounds and are inside for varying charges. The docuseries doesn’t try to exploit the students or over exaggerate on certain topics. Many of students’ charges were shown, but only if they brought it up. The show didn’t focus on how the girls were “bad,” but instead showed their progress and insights on how they wanted to make a change if they wanted to.
By not focusing on their crimes, it allows the students to realize they are more than their crime and there is time to change. One of the students’ favorite staff members, Jacie Minnick was their biggest cheerleader. She was the facility’s psychiatric social service specialist and taught the students coping skills and communication techniques. For example, when Chrissy Hutchison was first admitted to Madison she had extreme anger issues. After completing her program with the help of Minnick, Hutchison still had bouts of extreme anger but was able to learn how to control her anger more effectively.
One of the show’s main students, Brianna Guerra, grew up in a loving single-mother family but was drinking, doing drugs and other illegal activities before she turned 16. Guerra says she turned to the streets because her father left her on the streets and she wanted to see why that was more important than her. Later in the show, she reveals that she stayed in the streets because she felt a type of love from the people she spent time around.
Many of the students that were focused on were lesbians or bisexual. However, the show let the students talk about that if they wanted to and gave the impression of: “teenage girls are gay, this is how it is,” without trying to put an angle on it.
“Girls Incarcerated” tugs at the heart; making you laugh, cry and root for their progress. According to the Madison Courier, the facility was to close at the end of Oct. 2017 and the students were to be moved to Camp Summit: Boot Camp in LaPorte. This news is actually good. The numbers of students being placed into Madison dropped significantly; 10 years ago Madison housed around 200 students and in 2017 the facility had only 40 students. This makes waiting for season two that much harder.