“I first came here at 13. My first charge was having a knife and drugs. The drugs? Weed. I was here for a week—was the worst place I ever want to be…..locked up. I came back a couple of months later. More weed charges. They put me on adult probation at 13. This went on and on. They call this “sanction house,” where a judge outs you if you keep on misbehaving. But whatever they call it – a jail is a jail. Same thing. I came back for dropping dirty. Dad asked if they could put me on house arrest. He came from Laos. He came by plane when he was about 19. He welds and works side jobs at car lots. I don’t know much about my stepmom. My real Mom lives in California…Sacramento. My brother lives with her. He gets in trouble on and off. I was going to school until about 7th grade then I started bringing weed around and by 8th grade I was gang-banging. I’m a member of the Piru Bloods. There are about 15 of us. The other gangs are just fake. I’m also with the FL. We go against the F 13. I never visited Laos. One day I would like to.
I guess I got in trouble when I started looking for respect. It was 8th grade when I got a gun.
I met different people and they disliked me for the colors I was showing. I guess I got in trouble when I started looking for respect. It was 8th grade when I got a gun. A shotgun costs $50. A handgun: about $150. You have to be careful and make sure a gun isn’t dirty or has a body on it. I’m charged with murder. It happened in my house when I was on house arrest. I was with a friend who did it. The older guy started to come at me. He was Mexican and had a knife. He dropped the knife when he was coming at us and my friend picked it up and stabbed him. He is in County adult charged with “overkill” What’s overkill? When you keep on shooting somebody after they are dead….or in this case he was coming at me with a knife so I threw a rock. Then we started beating him and I tried to get him to drop the knife. I was on drugs and blacked out. I started drinking alcohol and was taking Xanex. I’ve been in here a year. I been in 20 different rooms here. They keep moving me. I went to a waiver hearing and they are talking about me pleaing guilty and getting 3-7 years in juvie..then parole for 5 years, with 25-to-life back up. Possible time if violating parole. I go to court in 16 days to plead guilty so I be gone to CAT in Topeka. I would be there until I am 23. I heard it was better than this. Better food, better programs and people that don’t act like little kids. What I’m reading? James Patterson. I like him and mysteries and stuff.”
-T.Q., age 17, Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention Center