PHOENIX, Ariz. — About 44,000 kids are locked up in juvenile detention centers around our country every day.
In Maricopa County, Arizona, a new program is hoping to keep kids out for good once they leave by helping them learn a different tune.
“Listening to music is the only thing that really helps me. I didn't really have a childhood and most of growing up was me being abused,” said a youth in juvenile custody.
Juvenile detention officers say it’s not easy to learn to see the world differently when you’re incarcerated, especially at a young age.
“Everybody makes mistakes. If you really get an opportunity to know these kids, you will see they want to become better,” said Youth Development Coordinator Alex Lopez.
Changing their tune
A music program at the Durango Juvenile Detention Center, part of the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, is giving youth opportunities for growth and learning through music.
“Whenever I sing, it releases all the stress and all the trauma I've been through,” said another youth in juvenile custody.
The kids have access to a recording studio. They learn music theory and music business, among other music production skills.
“All this stuff behind me, they're the ones who run this. So, I teach them, I teach them, we use a software called Soundtrap and we also teach Pro Tools here. They record and edit everything,” said music teacher, Sage Satterfield.
But above all, music is helping youth who oftentimes feel rejected to feel loved and to find a sense of hope.
“A lot of our students here, they’ve never had stuff put up on a fridge, they’ve never gotten certificates before, they’ve never completed things. And it’s good to see that, that glow when they, when they, they feel that confidence,” said Satterfield.
Satterfield hopes they will carry on that same confidence later in life.
According to a press release by the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, “These opportunities were advanced by Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson with a large donation of instruments from Raymond Pallanes’ Stir it Up Records, and a partnership with the foundation Restore Arts, which receives donated instruments and reconditions them to give to schools.”
This story was originally published by Liliana Soto at KNXV.