Zora Murff: Corrections

Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services was established to provide monitoring and rehabilitation services to youths on probation. Zora J. Murff has spent the last year working in the juvenile criminal justice system, and his project, Corrections, is the product of a conversation with a youth regarding his electronic ankle monitor:
“I want this thing off today…this fucking thing is an invasion of privacy, and goes against my well-being.”
Murff’s response:

He was angry, and at the time of the conversation I understood that at a very basal level. The more I thought about his anger, however, the more I pondered the concepts of privacy and control in the juvenile corrections system and the role that I play inside of those concepts. I interact with these youths at a critical point in their lives where control is an integral part of the day-to-day. My job is to be a consequence, to insert myself into their lives in an attempt to control and correct adolescent malfeasance, while the adolescents themselves are struggling with exerting control over their development into who they will be as adults. Photographing these individuals is an appraisal of their experiences in the juvenile corrections system; an attempt to access how the system aims to provide a sense of empowerment through these broader concepts of privacy, control, development, and ultimately rehabilitation to instill a true sense of correction.

Corrections is a project of portraiture that simultaneously reveals an individual as much as it reveals a population of troubled youth in Linn County. Murff’s approach to photographing these minors humanizes them, despite their potential journey toward a road to unfortunate stereotypes of criminal lifestyles. Check out the rest of the series here.