Kids escape institutions in many ways. Not all of them are over the fence.

I am on lock down for fighting. I was in the other unit, but they moved me here with the older kids. I am not out much anyway. They will move me to gen pop in a couple of days.
-J.R, age 15, at Ferris School in Delaware.

I have met kids that try to escape the reality of their 8 x 10 cells by pulling sweatshirts over their heads and create makeshift “pup-tents” with their blankets. With the knowledge that security, visibility, suicide-prevention and other issues are significant, I pose two questions.

1: Is there a way to design an area within the cell/room itself that gives the juvenile a sense of protection (and escapism) that they seek? 
2: Why are cells being built that require a significant portion of the population to seek shelter from the very environment built to rehabilitate them?

I’m in the 9th grade. I originally caught 16 charges of armed robbery.  They dropped that  to seven. I’m also charged with attempted murder. I was never been in jail or juvie prior to this. I’ve been here in TGK for three weeks. So far my mom, step dad and little sister have visited me. I don’t know who my father is. Mom was in and out of in an out of jail in California. I’m not a gang member. I was kicked out of school a few months ago. Here I go to school and sometimes to church.  “How did I get a gun? Someone gives you a gun. It’s just like that”

– D.H, age 15, at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami, Florida

Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center (TGK), 7000 NW 41 Street, Miami, Florida, 33166. TGK has 1300 beds for male and female inmates of various levels of custody. Officers work inside housing units and directly supervise inmates 24 hours a day. At the time of visit, the facility was cold, in the low 60s. Juveniles in several institutions in Florida all complain about the cold in TGK, detention and intake and assessment.

There was an incident yesterday and I just didn’t want to leave my bed. Yeah I know that the whole cottage don’t leave unless we all do so they all staying here for school today. I’m just angry. 

– D.M, age 16, at Hillsboro Treatment Center in Hillsboro, Missouri.

Soaring Eagles Cottage, Hillsboro Treatment Center, Hillsboro, MO. This is maximum security.  All the cottages are “Staff secure.” Some of the building built with low roofs. Kids can get up on them and hurt them. One of the drawbacks of the design, but the director says, “we are learning.” There is no razor wire rather climb resistant fencing (very small link spacing). The capacity is 12. Today there are 8 residents- all are African -American.

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