More than ten percent of inmates in New York's Rikers' Island jail are ages 21 and younger. They represent a demographic that is often forgotten in a criminal justice system that does not have the resources and preparedness to assist youth in their growth and development. Studies show that incarcerated youth are more likely to re-offend once released.
Robert Galinsky is an author, speaker and performer who works with incarcerated youth at Rikers to motivate them and encourage them to seek a better future and to help reduce recidivism. His work, through a program called Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, is motivating youth inmates to improve their lives both inside and outside of jail.
Marla Riera, 19, was recently released from Rikers after an 8 month sentence for violating parole. A high school graduate with a love for writing; she says the program helped her focus on staying positive and turning her life around.