Last Friday evening, a few brave employees from Talent International took up the challenge of spending an evening behind bars within the confines of YASMAR Training Facility (Former Youth Detention Centre) located in Sydney’s Inner West.

The team looking all fresh before making the journey to YASMAR

They were taking part in the Whitelion ‘Bailout’, a unique experience that gives contributors the chance to step into the shoes of a young person who has been disconnected from their community due to abuse and neglect, drug addiction and poverty.

Talent took up the challenge, which involved all participants having to reach out to their nearest and dearest to raise $1000 in bail money, which would secure their release from jail after a rough night in lock-up.

The Sydney team came out of the experience with a new perspective on the struggles that disadvantaged youths in Australia face and gained a further understanding on just how hard it is to ‘break the cycle’ once a young person is caught up in the confusing and emotionally removed world of courtrooms and the juvenile justice system.

The padded cell where four of the male inmates spent the evening

During the hours spent at YASMAR, the Sydney team were stripped of their personal belongings and interrogated in a theatrical but downright intimidating manner. They went on to the dinner hall to a meal of meat and three veg whilst doing their best to comply with the ‘no talking and no laughing allowed’ rules passed down by the guards looking over them.

The bare and uncomfortable bed in the female cell

Some of the workshops the ‘prisoners’ had the opportunity to attend during the hours of 7.30pm – 9.00pm revealed key issues that a young person caught in the juvenile justice system might face.

The lack of outreach workers available to help with rehabilitation along with limited government funding was another issue. What’s more, are the struggles the youths face once they start to rebuild their lives and are unable to shake the emotional scarring and the permanent criminal record they are stuck with, affecting their chances to move on to future employment opportunities and a better quality of life.

6.30am, Saturday morning where the ‘drills’ were carried out

With a target of $11,000 in total, the committed team of 11 have raised $9670 to date, a figure that is only bound to increase with two Talent Melbourne employees set to enter into the Old Melbourne Goal on Friday May 29.

The next morning after the court hearing – The team have posted bail and are released

Well done to the individuals that took the time to raise money and spend the night behind bars. Your contribution will go towards better outreach resources to keep the youth of Australia off our streets, back in schools and out of the juvenile detention system.

And good luck to the Melbourne team!