• “I’m not allowed to see my biological mom, but I know her telephone number by heart.” The first time I was in the system, I was 14. I’ve been here twice. Now I’m here on violation of parole. I was fighting in school. They had me for assault with a deadly weapon. I hit a girl with a hammer. The hammer was in a utility closet. The girl tried to jump me. […] April 27, 2016
  • Joseph Ligon By Richard Ross “I may be released before you get here…” These are the optimistic words of Joseph Ligon. Joe was incarcerated when he was 15 after a one-day trial for a murder he denies committing. He is in Pennsylvania—one of the three major states (Michigan and Louisiana) that required a subsequent Supreme Court ruling […] March 30, 2016
  • “I’ve been coming here since I was ten or eleven.” I’m being held in detention. I’ve been coming here since I was ten or eleven. I was expelled from school in the 6th grade. There are problems at home. My younger brother is on probation. My mom works for the cable company. I live with my mother, grandmother, and aunt—she’s 15. I don’t talk to my father, he left when I was six. He tried to visit me once […] March 9, 2016
  • “I’m in 9th grade but I stopped going to high school.” I’ve been here for one week. I feel nervous and frustrated. I’m here for being “out of control” and having trouble with my relatives. I go to court in two days. Sometimes I talk to my family on the telephone. At home I live with my mom, brother and my two sisters. My dad lives in Texas. I’m in 9th grade but I stopped going […] February 23, 2016
  • Let facilities take root in our neighborhoods A version of this article was originally published by the NY Daily News.  ………………………. At age 15, I was arrested for stealing a car and was sentenced to juvenile prison until my 21st birthday. In mid-90s Illinois, the sole female juvenile prison was located in a Chicago suburb, five hours north of my rural town. […] February 16, 2016
  • Continuum By Richard Ross Standing in rooms where people were tortured is a visceral experience. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The discussion then, 10 years past, was the fluid continuum–from discussion, interview, interrogation, then finally, torture. The terms were sometimes twisted—“enhanced interrogation”—but our descending from who we were to what we had become was unmistakable and chilling […] January 13, 2016
  • “I lost my freedom in detention!” This week, Juvenile In Justice concludes the features on two adults who spent much of their childhood lives in detention. Jose Vidrio shares his experience of being in and out of the juvenile justice system and the conditions of confinement, and touches on his achievements as an adult now.  ……………………….  by Jose Vidrio I was physically abused by my […] January 8, 2016
  • “I am very happy with my life now.” Over the next few weeks, Juvenile In Justice will feature the stories of two adults who spent much of their childhood lives in detention. This week, Amy Stephens-Vang shares her story of resilience and recovery. ……………………….  by Amy Stephens-Vang I moved to California when I was six years old. My parents are both alcoholics and drug addicts. […] December 17, 2015
  • Tribal Justice By Richard Ross I offer condolences this Thanksgiving—sending a note to the chief judge of the Yurok tribe.  The Yuroks are the largest tribe in California. 6500 people whose traditional lands are along the Klamath River. Many of the Yurok have no running water nor electricity. Roadside deer are not road kill, rather they are “harvest.” […] December 9, 2015
  • “I always stuck with school. I always had good grades.” I’ve been here two months now. The first time I was here was on a burglary charge. I was 14. Two other times I was here for cutting off my house arrest bracelet. Old charges that popped up and they sent me back downstairs from the courtroom down to detention. My P.O. (probation officer) is […] November 25, 2015
  • “She was incarcerated when I was born—so was my dad.” I’ve been here twice. I live with my great grandmother. She’s 85. I don’t know where my mother is. I know my daddy is incarcerated. He has been there about eight months now for drug trafficking. My mom went to jail numerous times for selling drugs. She was incarcerated when I was born—so was my […] November 18, 2015
  • “I’ve been here four months. I’ve been in this room four months.” I’m 17 years old. I’ve been here four months. I’ve been in this room four months. I’m wearing a smock to prevent me from hurting myself. I hurt myself. Why? I want to commit suicide. I don’t talk to a therapist. They aint doing no good. I spoke to her today for about 5 minutes. […] November 11, 2015