Meet Me in the Yard (MMITY) is an audio installation created in collaboration with five community contributors, each sharing true stories of the personal impacts of incarceration. The story contributors ask powerful questions about justice and restitution on both national institutional and interpersonal levels, and offer visions of a transformed criminal justice system.
MMITY was originally commissioned by the Provocation Ideas Festival, and presented in partnership with the Toronto International Festival of Author’s MOTIVE Festival. Story contributors were located in collaboration with artists and activists working within the Canadian and American criminal justice systems.
This project is the latest manifestation of Trophy, an evolving and award-winning creative investigation into individual and collective change rooted in the personal lived experiences of communities across the globe.
“A lot about the prison system needs to change, especially the staff mentality. Some staff are decent people, but there are too many whose power goes to their heads and they take it too far. A bit like us.”
Listen in as Redwood shares about how meeting Elders while incarcerated allowed him to reconnect with his culture, understand his trauma, and build trust again. This story takes place in Canada.
60s scoop, intergenerational trauma, incarceration, second degree murder charge.
“My whole thinking in prison changed. How did I think that people deserved to be in a place that breeds hatred?”
Listen in as Adelaida shares about how an abusive relationship led to her incarceration, and her experience giving birth to her son while in prison. This story takes place in the United States.
Graphic violence, intimate partner violence, incarceration, traumatic birth story, child removal.
“Prisons should implement more programs that bring out people’s emotions so that their behavioural counsellors can actually support people. Currently, prisons put people on medication so they can’t feel themselves. Why have behavioural counsellors when you put people to sleep?”
Listen in as Astrid shares about her experiences of being repeatedly counted while in prison, and how counting took on a different meaning for her on her first weekend outside. This story takes place in Canada and Germany.
Incarceration, second degree murder charge.
“Everything in prison is done from a punishment standpoint. When you’re living in fear, are you really going to be open and honest about things?”
Listen in as Sonny shares about how a casual comment by a corrections officer transformed his view of his future. This story takes place in Canada.
Incarceration, prison violence, drugs, gang activity.
“I feel like I had to soften my heart, because I was looking at people as the things that they did rather than the fact that they are human. And what prison does is it treats people like the worst things that they’ve ever done. And I’ve had to wrap my head around the idea that you are not the worst thing you’ve ever done.”
Listen in as Jaren shares about how his brother’s incarceration reframed the way he sees the criminal justice system and his role within it. This story takes place in the United States.
Incarceration, emotional trauma, racial oppression.