Young offender Ryan D. is one of the finalists in a national talent competition.

Young offender Ryan D. is one of the finalists in a national talent competition. His video entry can be seen below (photo taken from video).

Competition open to incarcerated youth

By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer

Two youth from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) have received national recognition for their talents.

Jesus A., a juvenile offender from N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (YCF), and Ryan D., from Ventura YCF, are among the 11 finalists chosen for the 2015 Performance-based Standards (PbS) Kids Got Talent Contest.

Jesus is a poet and Ryan plays guitar (see videos below).

The finalists demonstrated exceptional talent, creativity and enthusiasm, according to organizers. The audio and video submissions were chosen from over 50 youth displaying various talents ranging from singing and dancing to sports tricks and video art.

“Both the quality and quantity of the talent submissions are awesome,” said PbS Executive Director Kim Godfrey.

As an organization, PbS works on improving conditions of confinement for youthful offenders throughout the United States.

PbS, launched by the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, specifically focuses on state and county correctional facilities to ensure youth and staff are kept safe, youth are held accountable and provided effective rehabilitation services to help prevent future crime.

“Ryan has no formal training in playing guitar or singing,” said Karette Fussell, Supervising Casework Specialist at Ventura YCF. “He is self-taught and inspired by his love of music.”

“We are very excited this year as PbS celebrates 20 years and to have the youth in our facilities be able to participate in the 2015 PbS Kids Got Talent Contest,” said N.A. Chaderjian YCF Superintendent Erin Brock. “It’s moments like this that make us so proud of the accomplishments and achievements of our youth.”

The winner will be announced in June and will perform at the PbS 20th Anniversary Gala and Awards Ceremony on Aug. 14 in Indianapolis.

PbS Director Godfrey said they realize the winners are incarcerated, but she is hoping to overcome traditional barriers and restrictions and have a winner or runner-up be able, under close supervision, to attend the festivities.

(Editor’s note: Some websites and videos may not be accessible by CDCR computers.)

Ryan D. plays guitar:

Jesus A. reads his poetry: