L.N, age 17, at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility. Image by Richard Ross for Juvenile-in-Justice.
L.N, age 17, at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility. All images by Richard Ross for Juvenile-in-Justice.

“I’m from Salem. They had me in a take down a week or two ago. I got in a fight with a girl so they split us up and I spit on one of them, Mike…Nobody visits me. I’ve been here 3 months. My mom’s in Salem. She does a lot of meth. My dad lives in Arizona and works for Babies ‘R Us. My mom’s white, my dad’s black. The first time I was here I was here for 3 months. I was in juvi for 3 weeks after being on the street. My mom started doing meth when her dad died, she’s on probation, but my dad is clean… I have six sisters, one stepsister, two stepbrothers, one real brother.

“I’m here for disorderly conduct, false information– giving a fake name to a cop-– I gave him my cousins’ name. I was in a car where the driver was driving crappy. We were driving in snow and he couldn’t see the white lines… Yeah, he was on meth. I’ve been using since I was 15, but I wasn’t in any drug program on the outside. My dad moved out of the house and I ran away from my step-dad and my mom to some friends’ houses. They were my age, like 15, 16, 17, all drug dealers. They gave me a place to stay and all the meth and weed I wanted. I didn’t go to school and I was on probation so I had a bad UA [urine analysis].

Dormitory at Oak Creek.
Dormitory at Oak Creek.

“When they took me down I got tackled because I wasn’t looking at the wall when I was supposed to be looking at the wall. They, CS (campus security), pick you up and put you in handcuffs. I was in Birch [isolation] for 5 days. I was released 2 days ago. They only let you out to shower. I got to have a book there. I read Twilight. The girls in there were talking crap. I’m here, and I can go to the AA program and the NA program. Before this I was smoking meth everyday…

“I’m tough no matter what. If I wasn’t, these girls would walk all over me. I’m gang-affiliated, but I don’t bang, I rep and I claim, I’m all 4s. I’m all red. I have ADHD, I have a boyfriend, I have girlfriends. I’m a very hungry perso, I love to eat… I don’t like the rain or the clouds. The rain makes me sad… or hungry. I’m scared to die and I like the color purple.”

-L.N, age 17, Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility, Albany, Oregon.

Read all the posts from Oak Creek HERE.

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