• “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
  • “She doesn’t have papers; she’s not a citizen.” This is my second time here. I’ve been here 3 days so far. I was going from my friends house at 8 o’clock at night and the cops stopped me. Two units. They took me to the downtown station for three hours. They did mugshots and fingerprinted me, and then they brought me here to […] April 20, 2016
  • “Then he raped me. My mom didn’t believe me. “ I’m dual. No one visits. I was in placement. Then I was in a facility up north for two weeks. I’ve been here five days. There is A/C in the day room but not in the cells. I live far from here with my grandfather, mom, tío, and younger sister. Me and my mom got […] April 13, 2016
  • “They took me away from my Mom.” This is my first time here. I came in a week ago. I’m in on a warrant. It’s a bench warrant. I was in a car that was involved in a burglary. I didn’t do anything though, I was just in the car. The other kids did a burglary over at a school. I was […] April 6, 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 ran away because my boyfriend pressured me.” I’m in 12th grade. I’ve lived in here for 8 years, but I’m originally from the Bronx. My mom and dad still live together. I ran away because my boyfriend pressured me. I’m waiting for a slot to open up at another facility, I’ve been waiting for three months. I want to go to city college. I stay in the girls’ wing, […] March 30, 2016
  • “I’m the only girl here.” I’ve been here for 22 days. I’ve been in and out a bunch of times. At home I have a mom and dad and four younger brothers and sisters and an older brother and sister. I had an older sister who committed suicide a few years ago. I’m in the 9th grade. I would like to go to college. I received my first […] March 23, 2016
  • “I’ve never really had a father.” I was born in Hawaii, moved to Indiana, but now I’m here under a two year program. I was being held in another state for a while—that was more like a prison. There are good people working at this place. My father is in prison. I’ve never really had a father. My whole family is in Indiana. I was living with […] March 2, 2016
  • “I’m here because of something I did with my brother.” I’ve been here like 4 days or a week. Sometimes I like being in my cell or watching TV or eating lunch or making Christmas decorations. I’m here because of something I did with my brother. He’s like 19 or 24, I don’t know. I live with my mom and dad. Brother is arrested right now. They just […] February 16, 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
  • “I never got a chance to go to regular school.” I’m getting my 72 hearing. That’s means I’m supposed to be heard within 3 days. I came in yesterday. I’ve been here three times before. First time I was 14. I live with my mom, stepdad, five brothers and three sisters. I stay with my dad sometimes. I’ve been suspended from school because I didn’t […] February 10, 2016
  • “Any time they hear my name they lock me up.” I’ve been in the timeout room for two days. I’ve been in detention four times. The first time I was 13. I’ve been in isolation eight times. The longest time was two weeks. Any conflict or altercation they lock me up. Doesn’t matter who’s to blame they lock me up. They won’t let me tell […] January 21, 2016