A lonely exercise cell in Harris County Psychiatric Center, Houston, Texas
Harris County Psychiatric Center in Houston, Texas is not a facility exclusively for juveniles. The Harris County Probation Department pays for 16 beds at a cost of $2.1 million dollars per year. According to Juvenile Probation Department Executive Director Tom Brooks, the money is well spent, treating juveniles with sub-acute, severe mental health needs. As many of these children are the offspring and result of a 90′s crack epidemic, the point is to treat the kids without criminalizing them and hopefully prevent them from becoming part of the juvenile justice system.
I graduated from high school in Louisiana, I was the valedictorian of my class. Then my mom and I were in a shelter, so I ran away. That was nine months ago. My mom was on drugs and drinking heavily. I was hospitalized with a concussion, and got charged with assault on a family member. My mom has visited me three times, but I haven’t seen my dad since I was six. There was a lot of physical and mental abuse. My brother goes to school at Lone Star and works two jobs. My mother now lives with him. I also have a 13-year-old sister who is living with a family friend. I stopped going to school for a while because I felt beneath everybody because I lived in a shelter, but then the lady at the YMCA … Read More »
I am in the 9th grade and will have been here for six months tomorrow. I’m here for Violation of Parole– I had a dirty urinary analysis. I was originally charged with burglary with my brother. I was only supposed to serve three months here, but they didn’t start my time because I was fighting a lot. Then I was in the drug unit for a while. I live with my mom and grandma; my mom comes and visits sometimes. No, I’m not in a gang. My brother is in leadership academy and I dunno know where my dad is.
- JG, age 14, Burnett-Bayland Reception Center, Houston, Texas.