Jean Melesaine will partner with Silicon Valley De-Bug to work with public defender offices across the United States in effectively and responsibly producing client “social biography videos” as advocacy tools in reducing sentencing and potential incarceration. Melesaine and her partners will design training workshops and resources to support public defenders in creating multimedia pieces intended to redirect attention to defendants’ humanity and the communities they represent. The project partners hope that public defenders engaging in this process will build real relationships with their clients and the result will transform the culture of the criminal court system.
Melesaine is a Samoan American documentary photographer based in Oakland, California. Working with Silicon Valley DeBug for over 10 years, she was taught conscious photography from community members as a teenager. Her parents are from the villages of Moamoa and Faleali’li in Western Samoa.