Vinny and David
Life and Incarceration of a Family
About the Project
Vinny and David began when Isadora Kosofsky encountered Vinny, then age 13, as he was being booked into a juvenile detention center for stabbing his mother’s assailant in 2012. Since that time, Kosofsky has forged an ongoing relationship with Vinny, his older brother David, and the rest of their family as she documents their navigation of life both inside and outside of New Mexico’s juvenile and adult prison systems.
Kosofsky says, “For the past five years, I have documented the relationship between families and incarceration, focusing on lost intimacy and love as a locus to investigate humanistic elements of the criminal justice system. In the midst of understanding shattered and mended familial bonds in my present life, Vinny and David comments on private questions about the nature of brotherly bonds and alienation.” In addition to Vinny and David, Kosofsky produced a photo essay Still My Mother, Still My Father which features snapshots of parent-child bonding visits at 12 prisons across Florida. Kosofsky says, “Documenting family affords me the opportunity to not only tackle mass incarceration from a humanistic standpoint, but to also explore these experiences as escapes and temporarily fulfilled fantasies for both child and parent.”
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and this number continues to grow, meaning more and more families are being impacted by the criminal justice system. Both Vinny and David and Still My Mother, Still My Father prompt important conversations about the impacts of mass incarceration on families and children, an important first step in reforming the criminal justice system and improving the well-being of children of incarcerated individuals.
about the artists
June 8, 2017
625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago
Special thanks to speaker and photographer Isadora Kosofsky
June 22, 2017
625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago
With guest speakers Julie Anderson, Cathy Aguilar, and Joey Rodriguez (CRIIC), Daniel Banks (Youth Advisory Board, IL Dept. of Juvenile Justice) and moderator Jobi Cates, Director of RJI.
August 10, 2016
625 N. Kingsbury
Speaker: Daniel Banks, Youth Advisory Board, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
September 3, 2017
1238 W. 51st Street
In partnership with Communities and Relatives of Illinois Incarcerated Children (CRIIC) and Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
June 8 – August 10, 2017
AWP Studio Gallery
625 N. Kingsbury Street
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Vinny and David exhibit at the ART WORKS Projects Studio Gallery
Emerging Lens Project
Vinny and David was completed with support from the Emerging Lens fellowship.
Emerging Lens is ART WORKS Projects’ signature program that awards project support, unrestricted grants, and mentorship to emerging photographers working to document social justice and human rights issues in their own backyards and around the world.
resources & tools
A recent study by the Academic Pediatric Association found that children of an incarcerated parent or parents suffer a lack of health and dental care, and the study found disproportional impact on those who are Black, poor or live in rural areas.
In June 2022, Illinois governor JB Pritzker signed a bill into law will require the Illinois Department of Corrections to publish an annual report on issues being raised by family members. This new rule will make it easier for policymakers and advocates to bring about reform.
The Family Strengthening Project
The National Institute of Corrections has created the Family Strengthening Project, a model for local jails and state prisons to reform visiting and reunification policies, programming, and other things to reduce the impact of parental incarceration and improve reentry.
support Our Work
Projects like Vinny and David are only possible with the financial support of our many donors, grant funders, and our community