I’ve been here for 11 1/2 months and no one has visited me. My Mother is on disability. My Father? don’t know who he is.
Yesterday NPR’s The Picture Show ran “An Unusual Glimpse Behind Bars: Juveniles in the Justice System” – a feature on Juvenile-in-Justice.
Big thanks to NPR and writer Dana Farrington.
I am an honor resident here. I talk to the guard, work in the garden. I do well here. I grew up with some pretty bad people in Watsonville-the city without pity. I’m going to get my GED when I am out.
-A.G. age 17
A good portion of our juvenile justice architecture was built as a fear response to the “super predator” scare of the 90s. This meant building facilities with a primary eye to staff security, confinement and punishment. Far more effective treatment is helping juveniles gain access to positive male role models. This means building a “pony” wall rather than a concrete, brick and glass barricade. Unfortunately, A. was released and then was involved in an altercation at a bowling alley. Firearms were involved. A. is now back in the system.
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Teenagers are a liquid state–Pure plastic. They take the form that is the least resistance. They flow onto horizontal surfaces and swim on floors or benches.
Last week PBS Newshour aired a piece on Juvenile-in-Justice and education for youth in confinement. You can read the article here and watch the video piece below. Big thanks to Michael Fritz and April Brown at PBS.
As a kid I was sent to juvenile hall four times. When I was seventeen I was sent to Orleans Parish Prison for a fistfight. My cellmate there was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The fear I dealt with there must have given me something close to post traumatic stress disorder. I was locked up about 16 times all before I turned 20. I am passionate about real juvenile justice.
“I’ve been here for 3 years and 8 months and haven’t been to trial yet. I came in when I was 13.”
-R.F. age 17, Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, Miami, Florida
This is the first of an on-going series of posts about a young man being held at TGK in Miami. We will post about him once a month and explain his story: the charges against him, the history, circumstances, as well as interviews with his mother, the assistant public defender, and the young man himself.