A project I made while working at the Lubbock Private Defenders office as a Forensic Mental Health Case Worker. From 2018 to 2021

  • Image 1 of 22

And Justice For All

Jane Lindsay | TX, United States

And Justice for All is a multimedia body of work that address mental health, competency restoration and systemic racism in the legal system of Lubbock County, Texas. The project was a long-term project that went on for a period of 3.5 years. The work documents people stuck in competency restoration and moving through the legal system with a mental health diagnosis.

The images are meant to document a person’s experience but also to create a conceptual framework so that the viewer can access the ideas and problems going on in the legal system. The work consists of Daguerreotypes, tintypes, sculptures and laser-etched plexiglass prints.

And Justice for All

When I was 27 years old and living in Denver Colorado, I wanted to go to graduate school, but I had several challenges to overcome. I read at a 4th grade level, and I had problems writing and understanding language, expressing myself verbally, and navigating social environments. Finally, with a two-year-old on my hip, I went to the local college and after a battery of tests. I was diagnosed with Auditory Dyslexia and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I attended special classes for two years so that I could apply to and attend graduate school. With accommodations and support, I was able to complete an MA in Clinical Psychology and I got a job in the criminal justice system where I worked as a counselor/social worker for most of my adult life. I went on to earn two more Master’s degrees in Studio Art and Art Education. Even with that success, I was ashamed of my autism which often left me lost and bewildered in translating both writing and verbal communications and affected many of my relationships in a negative way. I would not discuss or even entertain a conversation about my spectrum problems. I watched as the autism gene passed down to my children and grandchildren which contributed to my denial and shame.

In 2017, I started a case worker job at the Lubbock Private Defenders Office, during the nearly 4 years I worked there I witnessed people with mental illness, IDD, autism and other disorders get trapped in the criminal justice system waiting for competency restoration. My clients would lose everything they had waiting on the system to give them fair and equal treatment.

When I started this project, my goal was to “lift people up” through my creative process. In the end, what I learned from my experiences making the work and working with individuals with complex legal and mental health problems is that they don’t need to be lifted up, they just need the same opportunities I had to reach their full potential. I realized that the biggest difference between me and my clients was my privilege and access to opportunity. I began to understand my own experience with a disability and to see it as a path to advocacy for policy change and better opportunities for people with mental illness/IDD/and autism. I can see my own self-acceptance play out in my work by the subjects I am drawn to collaborate with and the stories I choose to tell.

With this work, my goal was to create a precious space for each subject as a means to speak from the heart and in a way that they can see that they are worthy of love, compassion, and care. I wanted to embrace every good thing they have ever done.

I use Daguerreotype for its historical significance, its expense and exclusivity, and its unique mirrored surface. The Daguerreotype is precious just like each individual that cycles through the legal system.

The Gem piece also references history. Tintypes were an affordable alternative to Daguerreotypes. In the 19th-centurypeople often set a tiny tintype of a loved one in a piece of jewelry and called it a “Gem”. This piece represents the close to 500 mental health cases that passed through the Lubbock Private Defenders Office in six months.

The plexiglass sculptures are a voice from inside the Jail. They are designed based on the attorney visitation rooms at the jail. They speak to the barrier between the real world or “free world” and the “world inside.” The plexiglass barrier is so thick it is almost soundproof, so I talk to people through the tiny slits that are used to push paper through. These sculptures represent a visual translation of Ibram Kendi and Michelle Alexander’s theory on systemic racism and Jim Crow in the legal system. The mentally ill in the legal system can fall into a legal trap that will often keep them incarcerated for longer than the maximum penalty for their crime. These people are often victims of systemic racism. Working at LPDO with and for the mentally ill was painful every day. At the same time, unexpected miracles would happen within the system, and there is a lasting beauty in these situations that provides hope.


Jane Boren Lindsay

Jane B Lindsay

302 W 10th St 

Post Texas





Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments