“I have a little sister, 7, and an older sister, 28. My half brother was in juvie for running, fleeing, invading. Mom and dad are from Mexico. They are separated. Mom lives in Overland Park—dad ices in Washington. I’ve been here 2 weeks. This is my sixth time. I was 13 when I first was brought in for possession of marijuana. Mom is a housewife and works at the mall. Mom visits every week. Law enforcement would describe me as a gang-banger but I’m not affiliated. The majority of kids are Surenos but there are also Folks, Crips… Dad and mom are not affiliated. I became a senior this semester. I have 17 credits. Recently I was at YCAT in Topeka. I was in there 7 months, and then out on probation on ISP. I was picked up for a PV and picked up a new charge. I was out for 2 ½ months.
I have to explain to him how I blew it so many times before but this time,
I am ready to do it right. I have to make her believe me—
I was going to school but hanging out with the same kids. I have been in and out of jail a couple of times but I am gojng to do it differently. None of those friends come to visit me here and when I need them, they disappear. I ask ‘where was you at when I was in there?’ I will be better for my family. Monday I see the judge and I could get conditional release. I’m looking at Choice Point for 12 weeks or house arrest. I wrote a letter to the judge. It is three pages long, front and back. I have to explain to him how I blew it so many times before but this time, I am ready to do it right. I have to make her believe me—that I want to make these changes. ‘Your honor I hereby stand in front of you once again. I have had bad influences.’ I will explain how my mom is sick and I am ready to make these changes.”
-F.I., age 17, Johnson County Juvenile Detention, Olathe, Kansas