I live in Carpinteria. I’ve been here 2 weeks today. This is my third time here. This time for going on the run. There was a warrant issued for me. I had a probation violation. I ran because I didn’t want to test dirty. I never had any drug counseling for drugs but I’m a meth addict. I stayed in Carpinteria but relapsed. First time I was here it was for assault on a family member. I broke my dad’s nose. I was trying to protect my boyfriend. I was with him for three years– he wasn’t just a random guy. The second time I stole my mom’s car and relapsed again with this guy and went to San Francisco. It is not like we had a plan, we just needed to get out of the house.
My Dad started his own business. He drove 7 hours total to see me here, he lives in Long Beach Harbor. My Mom has never visited me here. I get one phone call a week for five minutes. I called her and she hung up on me. She was giving me all sorts of stuff about stealing her car the last time I was in. It’s not like she shouldn’t be supportive and tell me something positive to help me here now… She was just dragging up some old stuff and making me feel bad. She hung up on me! I already feel bad, don’t make me feel worse. Meth is the big drug here. All the girls talk about it. Twice I bunked up with girls doing meth. You know “Breaking Bad?” That’s where I got addicted, New Mexico. A family member gave me meth at a party when I was 9. She thought it would be cool. I have been trying to kick it since. I was trying to be cool. I was nine!
I failed 8th grade three times. I didn’t graduate high school. I think they finally promoted me out of pity. I have a half sister. I found out I had one also when I was 8. She’s now 22 and lives in Reno. She is sort of homeless and follows the Grateful Dead band around. She’s a meth addict too. I was started on mushrooms when I was 8 by a family member. She came to live with us when I was 10 toward the end of my parents’ relationship. They were both meth addicted. My Dad is an alcoholic. I have been trying hard to quit. That’s all that I knew, was meth. Two months ago I didn’t remember what it was like to be sober. I am 5’8 ½” tall and I was 85 pounds. I have put on 50 pounds since I have sort of stopped. Actually being on the run helped me quit. I ran away because I relapsed. I was so over being on the run though. I really didn’t want to be locked up any more. My boy friend helped me quit. He is straight. I get sentenced tomorrow for a few months. They were drug testing me every three days.
I started going to trauma group. Rape trauma. How old was I when I was raped? The most recent time or the first? The last three times I was raped were drug related. Last time was two and a half months ago. I was set up. But I was also set up when I was a kid. I turn 18 in a month or two. I think I will get out then. I don’t know where I will go. I’m living on the streets for a year, friends houses, in front of the library. Stuff like that. That’s where I hang out. There are 30 girls here. I don’t get along with a lot of them. They think I am weird because I write a lot and laugh or giggle a lot. I’ve written novels. I write. I write my life. We have manila folders. We have an hour a day we can use pencils outside our cells. I write when everyone is watching TV.
– M.C, age 17, in Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, Santa Maria, California. Interviewed in November, 2012.