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I’ve been here five and a half months. This is my seventh time. First time, I was 15. I am from Santa Barbara. I go to alternative high school. I have about 170 units so I’m about to graduate. I have been to Santa Barbara Junior High School, La Cuesta, Community Day School… I stopped going to school. Now I only do school work when I am here. My mother is a caregiver to an old lady, Dad’s in prison on gang and drug related charges. I don’t know how old my Mom is. I think she may be in her 30s… maybe 37. I live at home with my Grandpa, my two brothers and my little sister. Nobody visits me here.

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The first charges against me were petty theft, felony vandalism… disturbing the peace. Then I started getting some heavier charges like assault with a deadly weapon, possession with intent to sell, narcotics charges. Mostly marijuana. The police would call me gang affiliated. I was at Los Prietos a couple of months ago. Been there three times. Third time I didn’t finish. I don’t want to be there. I’m over it. Same shit over and over again. I don’t like being locked up but I don’t really care…I do care but if it happens, it happens. I’m not going to cry about it. I’m here on new charges, I was with my homeboys and we fucked up this other guy’s car. Also got an assault on a police officer here. Staff tried to put his hands on me so I hit him. I’ve been pepper sprayed twice in here and once at Los Prietos. I’m inside the room because I am on ISO (Isolation) for breaking a computer keyboard at school. I been here two weeks straight. I got into a bunch of fights. I never really cared about my life, then I got a girlfriend and I cared about her. She hasn’t called or written since I’ve been here. She left me hanging. She was special… Now I’m here. It sucks but I can’t do shit about it. I just have to deal with it. Who am I? Not really anything beyond the gang, just my legal name.

– K.N, age 17, at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, Santa Maria, California.

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