• “There isn’t a sober person in the family.” We have the same mother. Haven’t seen dad since I was three, when he died drinking. I’m in here for drugs, pills, weed, and some harder stuff. I’ve been at this facility for 11 months. I went through the Drugs and Alcohol Program, but I got drunk the same day I finished. —T.P., age 17 I’m in the 9th grade, I flunked out of my first […] September 19, 2016
  • “They put me on adult probation at 13.” I first came here at 13. My first charge was having a knife and drugs. The drugs? Weed. I was here for a week—was the worst place I ever want to be…locked up. I came back a couple of months later. More weed charges. They put me on adult probation at 13. This went on […] August 31, 2016
  • “I don’t have a dad. He’s locked up.” I like to swim a lot, but they only give us 3 minutes to shower. I’m 15 now. I was 13 when I first came here. I live with my mom and grandmother. Not my stepdad. He split with my mom—she kicked him out because he was doing drugs and giving me drugs. Just bud […] July 6, 2016
  • “She told me today that she’s pregnant.” I live near the city college I live with my mom, two sisters, a newborn, and my stepdad. I have an older brother, but he’s out of the house. My stepdad’s a chef. And my mom works at a bakery. I was taken away by social workers. My mom told them that I hit her, but […] May 4, 2016
  • “I’m not allowed to see my biological mom, but I know her telephone number by heart.” The first time I was in the system, I was 14. I’ve been here twice. Now I’m here on violation of parole. I was fighting in school. They had me for assault with a deadly weapon. I hit a girl with a hammer. The hammer was in a utility closet. The girl tried to jump me. […] April 27, 2016
  • “Then he raped me. My mom didn’t believe me. “ I’m dual. No one visits. I was in placement. Then I was in a facility up north for two weeks. I’ve been here five days. There is A/C in the day room but not in the cells. I live far from here with my grandfather, mom, tío, and younger sister. Me and my mom got […] April 13, 2016
  • “She was incarcerated when I was born—so was my dad.” I’ve been here twice. I live with my great grandmother. She’s 85. I don’t know where my mother is. I know my daddy is incarcerated. He has been there about eight months now for drug trafficking. My mom went to jail numerous times for selling drugs. She was incarcerated when I was born—so was my […] November 18, 2015
  • “My mom and dad used to fight…” I’m 14. I’ve been here 7 months. I was 12 when I first came in here. I came in for fighting my brother. My mom, dad, Little brother, and sister visit. I’m in for 15-21 (months). My dad is African American, my mom is white. My oldest brother is home now. He was in DOC. […] November 4, 2015
  • “A fire happened in my house. They blamed it on me. “ A fire happened in my house. They blamed it on me. My mother’s 40 now. I’m an only child. I had a brother but he died when he was young. I never met him. I was taken into custody at Rikers on seven different charges. There was some kind of socket in my house that […] October 28, 2015
  • “My stomach was telling me one thing, but my mind was telling me another.” My father is Muslim. He lives in Northeast. I was living with my mom, grandmother, and 14-year-old little brother. My parents separated when I was younger. My mom kicked me out and put me on the streets when I was 15. She said, “You don’t live here anymore.” My grandfather died when he was 60, […] October 21, 2015
  • “It’s more than I’ve been alive.” I’m from Norfolk, Virginia. I’m in 11th grade. I’m not in special ed or anything like that. I’ve been locked up for 15 months. Since I was 16. I was 16 when I first went into a facility. My grandparents, my cousin, and my uncle visit me here. My mom and dad are dead… somebody […] July 29, 2015
  • “We almost starved to death.” This is the second time I’m here. I’ve been here three months now. The first time I was 15 and here for a month. I got tired of the stuff at home so I ran away. I survived by breaking into houses. So I’m here mostly for B&E and burglary. I live with my mom […] April 1, 2015