BARBARA

Directed by Sarah Fleming and Joann Self Selvidge

“The system has determined that because of their youth, they deserve different titles, different treatment. There's a different process. So to me, it's important to communicate that, and the biggest difference is having the community at large understand that there is a difference… As young people, their brains aren't fully developed, their processing isn't developed, they are still reactionary in so much of what they do. And so they may have made decisions or failed to make decisions that have put them in this particular posture… These individuals are entitled to their rights, and to infringe upon them is a constitutional violation.”

Barbara Deans is an attorney who works for the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office on their Juvenile Defender Unit. She has recognized in her practice that to be successful, she must work closely with social workers to put together the resources her youth clients need to change their situations for the better. In this film, she talks about the challenges inherent in this work, as well as the passion, and her drive to be a catalyst for her clients, to provide them with opportunities to succeed.