[audio interview] Both sides of the bars: K.X, age 19, and the superintendent

Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility is an all-female facility in Albany, Oregon. The only one in the state. Last month Richard Ross spent 12+ hours talking, photographing, and recording the people who live and work at Oak Creek. The following post focuses on two perspectives: K.X, a young woman in insolation at Oak Creek and Mike Riggan, the superintendent of Oak Creek…[See all blog posts on Oak Creek HERE]
 

Image by Richard Ross for Juvenile-in-Justice.
K.X, age 19, at Oak Creek. Image by Richard Ross for Juvenile-in-Justice.
 

[superquote]“I’m in isolation at Birch. [During the day] you can’t lay down, gotta sit up. If they see you laying down they take away your mattress.” [/superquote]


[superquote] I started doing a lot of stuff when my sister left: snorting powder, popping pills… I thought I was grown.” [/superquote]

- K.X, age 19.

 

“We do have good staff here. K.X, the girl in isolation, unfortunately, chose to assault another youth and refused to stop when staff intervened. Staff was hit by her as a consequence of her refusing to stop. O.Y.A (Oregon Youth Authority) has a Matrix that was put into place a few years ago. Any decision to place a youth in isolation is in accordance with the policy and plan. This young woman, who has a history of assault and has been at Oak Creek before, can be very intimidating to other youth and is a bona fide gang member. I think this dynamic is something Casey misses, that fact that these kid’s (gang affected) loyalty is to their gang and family ties are subordinated to their gang identification. They will often put in work, usually in the form of assaults and managing it is a chore. I think what also gets lost is there is a victim(s) in these assaults and separating the youth until the dust settles and giving everyone a break is the safest bet.” [superquote]“Now whether isolation is the right method, I don’t know. I do know that financially, to wrap a single program around this girl that is staff secure would be difficult.” [/superquote]  

- Mike Riggan, Superintendent of Oak Creek.

 

[See more blog posts from Oak Creek HERE]
 

  • amananderson

    wow, sad

  • http://www.facebook.com/cassidy.anton.9 Cassidy Anton

    Once the system takes in one of these youth it doesn’t seem to really have any initiative to release them.

  • juvenileinjustice

    That does seem to be the way the system works in so many cases. However, on a more positive note, in a report released last week by the Justice Policy Institute 5 states are instituting reforms in which “Removing young people who engage in delinquent behavior from their homes and communities and incarcerating them is no longer the status quo.”

    Check them out here: http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/4950

    Best,

    Katy McCarthy
    Blog Director
    blogdirector@Juvenile-in-justice.com