Last week, we brought you inside Santa Maria Juvenile Hall to meet S.D, a 17-year-old awaiting sentencing for a violent crime committed with a group of older boys when he was 14. S.D was facing 60 years to life, now he has taken a deal of “juvie life” which means he will stay in the California Youth Authority until the age of 25. To get the deal S.D had to testify against multiple other members of his gang, which has put him at serious risk even inside the juvenile hall…
A couple days after talking to S.D at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall Richard met with his mom who lives in Santa Maria and tries to maintain a normal life in spite of the rocky years she had with her son leading up to the arrest– from camping out in the ‘hood … Read More »
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 from both sides: K.Q, a young woman incarcerated at Oak Creek and Mike Riggan, the superintendent of Oak Creek…[See all blog posts on Oak Creek HERE]
“I took the deal because I didn’t have many options. I was 15 and they were trying for a death penalty. This was my first time getting locked up with the law.”
“I’m from Salem. I’ve been here for 4 years. I’ve been locked up for 5 years. I’ve got 15 more years to go. My sentence is 20 years and 7 months. I’m here for 3 counts of Measure 11. … Read More »
What an amazing night! This work has been viewed in many venues– from magazines to online slideshows to reports from non-profits. In every space you receive the work differently. On Saturday night at the exhibition at Ronald Feldman in NY, visitors were able to see the work large and printed and in-your-face. Filling two giant rooms in the SoHo gallery, the work hung unframed and un-matted, leaving nothing to separate you from the lives and stories of the juveniles in the photographs. It was simultaneously beautiful and fiercely powerful. Thanks to all who came out and to the Feldman’s and their wonderful staff for such great execution of the exhibition (Pictures below). And if you are in the area be sure to visit the exhibition, which runs until February 6. More details at the gallery website HERE.
The Juvenile Detention Center in Houston, Texas has 210 beds, with a normal occupancy between 160 to 192 children. At the time of visit last month, they were temporarily over capacity and had to resort to MOUs– multiple occupancy units. This translates to kids sleeping in the day room (see the first image). According to staff, the center was backed up because the kids had STAR testing and couldn’t be moved to other facilities. Staff also inform that the drug of choice used to be crack, but has now shifted towards prescription drugs such as Xanax. Law enforcement doesn’t ask kids about citizenship. The center only gets the Mexican consulate involved when there are problems of undocumented children without parents.
Tom Brooks, head of Harris County Probation, essentially the greater Houston area, answered his email and followed up with a phone call with the words, “We want you to come to Harris County and document everything we have; the good, the bad and the ugly. The only way we will improve the lives of these kids is to shine a light here. Let me know when you are coming and I will pick you up and drive you to all our facilities.”
This is a rare event. Frequently the discussion is a long exchange of emails and a presentation of bona fides, references, checks, cross-checks and occasionally court orders. There are many examples I can offer where the institutions and the individuals wanted to protect themselves from scrutiny under the guise of protecting the children in their custody.
So, last month, I … Read More »