• “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
  • 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
  • “It’s easy to get in the system, but hard to get out of it.” I go to education alternatives. I’m in 10th grade, I have been here a month now. The people I see are my mother, grandmother and probation officer. Since treatment, I have been in a Christian home and residential treatment center and shelter care for about a year. I was in YSCP—Youth Family Community Partnership—with my […] September 9, 2015
  • “I was on the run for a month…” I’ve been here 245 days. I caught a gang case—robbery. I was 12 when I first came here. They have me as a member of the Heartless Felons. Mom works at the clinic. My dad doesn’t have a job. My mom and dad live together. I have four brothers and two sisters. I’m the oldest. […] September 2, 2015
  • “…if I ever get on track.” I was here six times. The first time I was 13. I live with my mom, step dad, sister and two brothers. My mom visits me once or twice a week. I had a lot of VP (Violation of Probations). I broke an iPhone so they called it criminal damage. My Mom called the police. […] August 26, 2015
  • “My dead friends are written here.” I did the artwork. I’m here eight months. I am waiting for trial. The case was bonded over to the adult system. Most were charged or in the process of being bonded over. My mom and stepfather would visit. My dad is deceased. He was shot when I was six or seven. I was 14 […] August 19, 2015
  • “I was messed up.” I should have graduated in here but I’m gonna go to a continuation school. I don’t have much education. I’m gonna be here four more months even though I’m 18. When I went to court they said I would have to do six months. I’ve been here 3 times. I’m from El Salvador. I came […] December 31, 2014
  • “When you lead this life . . .” I’ve been here five months. I live in North Hollywood. This is my seventh time here. I was born in Koreatown. I was living with my dad and four brothers. My mom is not in the picture. My dad was in jail until I was 12. My grandma raised me from two to 12. There […] December 24, 2014
  • On the streets or in the projects I’m from Pacoima, the projects. You know the buildings? I’m a member of Project Winos. I’ve been living on the streets or else I sleep in the projects with my homies. I don’t go to school on the outs. My mom was deported when I was five, then I lived with my dad till I […] December 17, 2014
  • “Because I’m the new girl” I’ve been here and there for a month at a time. I was a month in girl care. Mom and dad don’t live together. If I get out, I really don’t have anywhere to live. The last time I lived with my mom was in a shelter, four years ago. It was a shelter for […] December 10, 2014
  • The Boy in Cell Number 7 It’s April now, and I’m wondering how it came down to this, and how I stooped this low, and how I am in here because of these so-called friends. We just got back from school, and soon it will be lunchtime. We walk over to G-unit, and I walk straight up the stairs to my […] December 8, 2014