Today prisons are full of adults whose journey into crime began
when they were young.
Disproportionately these are disadvantaged youth - children who are in poverty, BIPOC, and those who have experienced neglect, abuse and violence (1).
The combination of traumatic and unjust circumstances with lack of support to process the psychological impacts lead many children to act out in defensive and ultimately unproductive ways.
The discipline practices used in response to challenging behaviors too often display an over-reliance on punitive measures, such as criminal arrest and citation, rather than an emphasis on healing-centered restorative approaches (2).
These punitive measures are placing youth at a higher risk for traumatization and incarceration, in a group that is already at high risk due to intersectional factors.
Criminal consequences place youth on a path towards revolving involvement with the criminal justice system and ultimately creates a recidivism cycle that results in undesirable outcomes for both individuals and their communities (2).
restART studio recognizes the negative impacts that can occur as a result of involvement with the juvenile justice system.
We aim to help improve the criminal justice system by adopting restorative justice strategies that focus on avoiding punitive measures and instead provide opportunities for reflection, relational accountability, and redress from misconduct.
We take the time to understand each child not as an abstract disciplinary problem, but rather as an individual person with unique talents, interests, and aspirations as well as difficulties, experiences, and trauma. This calls for building trusting relationships with the youth and seeking to understand what drives their behavior, including various stressors (2).
Mission & Objectives
restART studio is a nonprofit that is transforming the lives of justice-involved youth through the power of art therapy.
Our mission is to
harness the power of
art therapy to help justice-involved youth understand their feelings & behavior and realize their potential.
restART studio understands that emphasis needs to be placed on encouraging youth to learn from their mistakes rather than punishing them for their learned maladaptive behaviors.
We implement restorative practices as an alternative to typical disciplinary actions that lead to criminal records and repeated incarceration.
restART studio provides a safe place for youth to feel listened to and understood without judgement.
The foundational therapeutic approaches utilized are designed to help justice-involved youth:
become aware of their inner experiences & outward behaviors
process a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, shame, trauma, substance use, and grief
learn to express themselves
and cope in healthy ways
set the stage for further work that builds on these strengths (academically, socially, and entrepreneur-ially)
Vision & Impact
restART studio is located in a cozy space in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We work closely with a city-led youth redirection program that provides youth with an opportunity to divert from Municipal Court involvement by voluntarily engaging in therapeutic intervention that is more restorative than traditional juvenile justice experiences.
restART studio applies a healing-centered restorative approach by serving adolescents that are involved in the criminal justice system with individual and small group art therapy.
In addition to involvement in the juvenile justice system, the youth may also have mental health and/or substance abuse therapeutic needs. Approximately 70% of the youth in the criminal justice system have a diagnosable mental health condition (3). restART studio is designed to treat a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, trauma, substance use, shame, and grief.