Anthony takes a break from his construction job to talk to me. He is 25, white, with an anomalous background, a graduate of UC Berkeley and the California Department of Juvenile Justice (formerly the California Youth Authority system). From Berkeley he received a degree in Anthropology with a minor in global poverty alleviation. From the DJJ he accrued a set of distressing experiences and a first-person understanding of how California treats youthful offenders.
Anthony comes from a relatively well-to-do family in Corona, California, a bedroom community for commuters to Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. In high school he started getting in trouble and was arrested and released several times for graffiti, being under the influence, and having an illegal bonfire in the hills. In 2004, when he was 17, Anthony crashed a car while driving drunk, killing one of his … Read More »
When I was 13, my boyfriend and I, we were really, really high burglarizing a house in the desert. The burglary was interrupted… the people came home and my boyfriend brutally murdered them both. I am 20 years old. I came to this room when I was 14 and I have been sharing 7 x 10 feet of space with another woman since. I’ve been eligible for parole, but all four times the families of the victims came and spoke against my release. If it was my family, I would do the same, but I am a different person at 20 than the drugged child I was at 13. Here I head a pretty well-respected women’s fire-fighting unit. We work with local facilities and assist in brush clearing, mudslides and forest fires. I am due for release in … Read More »
Ventura County Juvenile Justice Facility’s post-adjudication pod, for sentenced, committed, male juveniles. The pod is set up dorm-style, and houses 15 boys, with some singles and some group rooms.They have all been there varying amounts of time, ranging from one week to seven months.
I’ve been to this facility 13 times… this time I’ve been here for five days. For disturbing the peace, and providing false information to an officer. Yeah… I read a lot in here. Right now I’m reading a book by Jodi Picoult, and Harry Potter, and the last book in the Twilight series.
- L, age 17, Ventura County Juvenile Justice Facility – cell in girls post-adjudication commitment pod, for girls that have been sentenced.
Dick Wolf has it wrong. There are not ‘two sides to the criminal justice system…those that fight crime and those that prosecute the offenders.’ In fact there is a third side that goes less noticed until problems arise. This is the world of corrections.
I am a transgender female. They have me living in an isolation area for the past 7 months I think to protect me against suicide, but also keep me sort of away from the other girls. I have 2 months to go before I turn 18 and can go home.
Juvenile-in-Justice is featured as a six-page photo essay in this month’s Harper’s Magazine. Download a PDF here!