Rewiring Juvenile Justice

Rewiring Juvenile Justice is a feature length documentary exploring the use of modern neuroscientific research to challenge  juvenile criminal policies by distinguishing between the adolescent and adult brains. Armed with innovative brain imaging technologies and the emerging field of neurolaw, behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, and policymakers are setting a course to advocate for evidence-based criminal policy.

Aerial Footage

Aerial footage of prisons shows their “in plain sight” proximity to bustling neighborhoods. Their placement in the middle of communities also shows how the criminal system is enmeshed in the American imagination as something that has been and will be permanent. No incarcerated persons will be shown in this documentary, and in place, we observe the architecture that holds the incarcerated and witnesses their conditions.   For your interest, please consider reading Varieties of Prison Voyeurism by Jeffery Ian Ross (2015)

  •  “The beauty of brain imaging is that you can see the behaving brain.”

    BJ CaseyProfessor of Psychology, Yale University
  • “The discovery that the prefrontal cortex keeps developing
    until the mid-twenties has been really influential in juvenile justice.”

    Dr. Adriana GalvanHead of Developmental Neuroscience Lab, UCLA
  • “As a country, we’ve grappled with the ways that
    we distinguish kids from adults, for hundreds of years.”

    Kim Taylor-ThompsonProfessor of Clinical Law, NYU
  • “We need neuroscience involved in the criminal justice system.”  

    Dr. Cara Altimus




Helena Cortes is a documentary filmmaker interested in deepening our collective understanding of fundamental social issues through a scientific lens. Her transition from a decade-long career in cell biology research influences her approach to communicate seemingly complex ideas into accessible and visually engaging storytelling. She is currently working on a film directed at reshaping our conversations on juvenile justice.



Bria Cole is a media artist and documentarian working between New York, LA, and Toronto. Formerly spearheading workshops at DCTV, a time-honored media center, Bria works as a media educator. She is directing a forthcoming feature, “Reconstructing Annie,” a documentary about millenials casting seniors in a remake of a 1970’s film. She is producing three unreleased documentaries while enjoying six cups of coffee a day.


Consulting Producer

Currently the Vice President of Live Action Development & Movies at Nickelodeon, Stephanie Bang brings over 10 years of broadcast experience to this project. She’s a New Yorker currently residing in Los Angeles with her husband and beagle mix. “Rewiring Juvenile Justice” is her first documentary.


“Rewiring Juvenile Justice” has been selected for fiscal sponsorship under Film Independent, a Los Angeles-based a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and home to the esteemed Spirit Awards.

Every contribution you make to the project through Film Independent is 100% tax deductible to the full extent of the law. The direct link for contributions is here.