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like any other kid

Rife with violence by both youth and staff, and proven to be ineffective in meeting the needs of youth, many of America’s juvenile prisons are failing today’s young people.  Most of today’s facilities depend on punishment, including solitary confinement and pepper spray, to treat children. For youth who have already faced unimaginable traumas in their short lives, punishment only prepares them for chaos and scarcity.


Like Any Other Kid provides a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of one of the most promising developments in juvenile justice reform: the use of non-punitive, therapeutic programs to change behavior and help youth re-enter their communities. Following the intimate relationships between incarcerated youth and staff in three unique facilities across the country over the course of three years, the film shows how these programs work. Based on the Missouri approach, where love and structure, instead of punishment, are used, these programs guide and teach youth how to take responsibility for themselves. Through scenes of conflict, vulnerability, reflection, commitment, and joy, the youth transform before our eyes. Like Any Other Kid shows us the great potential of these youth if we let them be just that: like any other kid.

Learn more about the film

watch trailer

2017 / English / 89 min.

Director: Victoria Mills

Producer: Carolina Correa, Kathy Leichter

Impact Producer: Kathy Leichter

Cinematographer: Daniel Carter

Editor: Michelle Chang

Music: Maxim Moston

Assistant Editor / Producer: Marissa Gouverne

Assistant Impact Producer: Micayla Lubka


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"If we have a lot of young people imprisoned, there is obviously something wrong from the beginning. The film "Like Any Other Kid" is showing us a big lesson on the principles of what nations and society has to be. Now is time to listen."

Toni Navarro

Director del XVI Festival de Cine y Derechos Humanos de Barcelona

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