“I’m from Federal Way in Washington. I was born in Samoa. We pronounce it “shamore.” I’m 100% Pacific Islander. My family moved to Long Beach, California then Washington. My dad was transferred to Fort Lewis. He’s an E5 staff sergeant. He was deployed to Iraq three times. Then he came home and spent a tour at Fort Drum, New Jersey. My mom is a stay at home mom. She takes care of my four brothers and four sisters. My oldest brother went to the penitentiary, but he’s out now. A bunch of people visit me; my mom, my dad, brothers, and sisters. I caught a ten-year sentence for robbery. I been here three years. I hope I get out in 2016, that will be six years. That’s the minimum sentence. The maximum is ten and then there’s a medium. If I get released after six, I still would have to do one year where I can’t stay here. Cause I age out. So I hope I get work release from 21-22. (This is an issue for a lot of kids where they still have six months or one year, but they age out and possibly go to the penitentiary.)
I hope I get out in 2016, that will be six years. That’s the minimum sentence.
I came in when I was 16. I had another offense when I was 14 and 15. Assault and robbery. It’s all physical stuff. That was my second offense. So they have a point system, where class B felonies all add up a half point and I added up to eight points. So I got ten years. Sometimes they take into account the number of ACE [Adverse Childhood Experiences] you have had. I was with two codefendants. They got out. It was their first offense. I was charged as an adult although I was 16. It was a class A felony. Kids have been declined [to be charged as a juvenile, which defaults to an adult as young as 15. They call that being on DOC time]. They declined me my second day in juvenile. Of course of I was under the influence of alcohol. I have a high school diploma. I want to get into a college program. I want to open a Samoan restaurant.”
-T.N., age 19, Green Hill School, Chehalis, Washington