I’ve been here a week – I have one more week to go. I’m here for a violation (probation) I was put here originally on battery charges (a fight with another boy). When Youth Services (Douglas County ) were called to take me I didn’t want to get in the car, so I didn’t put on my seat belt – that gave me another violation. 

I got into a fight with a kid because this kid was calling my mother names. I was also charged with criminal damage for beating up a car. I was beaten up by my step dad when I was little. My mom doesn’t work.  We live with my biological grandfather on my dad’s side. We pay rent in order to stay with him. I’ve got two brothers and one sister, they are 7, 8, and 9. My step mom has been with my dad for five years. I’ve been SANCTIONED here for two weeks. I can’t leave earlier. I went to day school (next door—for kids thrown out of regular school situations), got into a fight in regular school, went to day school next door for eight months, transitioned back to regular school, and got in a fight within 3 days. So the long story short: I didn’t do my schoolwork, then seat belt stuff. I said, ‘NO.’ I didn’t want to come back here. But here I am.

– N.T, age 12

There are arguments made that boys get in fights. Institutionalizing juveniles and branding this as criminal behavior rather than dealing with it as normal behavior wrongly places juveniles in places they should not be. Here, although he is separated by schedule and institutional practice, N.T. is in the same day room as four 17-year-old juveniles charged with armed bank robbery as well as other crimes. These two disparate resident populations are kept apart here—but this practice is not always followed at other sites.

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