“I was just in ICU [isolation] for a day. They don’t allow you to lie down in ICU during the day. They do give us books. I was reading Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Alex, the guard, got mad at me, he knows I can do better, so when I mess up it really pisses him off. Yesterday he came over to ICU and talked to me. I’m not measure 11. I’ll probably get out next June. I hang out in downtown Portland. I went to West View High School. I was in 10th grade. I think I’m a junior now. I do poorly because I don’t stay focused. I like to draw. I draw whatever in class. Teachers don’t like it. My mom lives in a shelter in Hillsboro; she chooses not to come. This is my first time here. Drug programs didn’t work out for me. I would do alcohol, weed, pills, and coke. I went to pathways in Eugene, Bakers House about six hours away, Wildflower, which is near Whiteshield, and Harkens House. That was four-and-a-half months and it was a residential treatment program.
The original charges?
I stole my mom’s car, there was six kids in the car, so I got
six counts of child endangerment and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The first time I used I was nine. My dad is dead; he was shot down. Drugs, gun, gangs. He was 27. My moms had children with different guys she’s been with. Sometimes, I’m just on my own. I’ll probably go to a foster home. When I was 16 months I was in a foster home, but that was for a short time. I ran from programs, from group homes, from behavioral programs, from drug programs. I have an unstable house. I just ran. I was picked up with a warrant and I tried to escape. The original charges? I stole my mom’s car, there was six kids in the car, so I got six counts of child endangerment and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. And I assaulted police officers. Growing up, I kept building my charges, so I ended up here. When I ran away, I drank, did drugs and stuff. My moms hoping her name might come up to be put on the housing list. It takes a long time.”
-K.L., age 16, Oak Creek Oregon, Albany, Oregon