A fire happened in my house. They blamed it on me. My mother’s 40 now. I’m an only child. I had a brother but he died when he was young. I never met him. I was taken into custody at Rikers on seven different charges. There was some kind of socket in my house that blew up. My mother was into alcohol and drugs. I live with my grandma. I ran away from here because I hadn’t seen my family in a long time so I went to see my grandma, my auntie and my cousins in Brooklyn for three or four days, and I came back here and they put me on restriction, so no games and no rec. But now I’m off restriction. I was in foster homes. Then it took me six or seven months to be accepted into this program. I was basically raised here. The people here I respect. They give me respect the same way I give them respect. I might be an artist someday. I like Michelangelo, David something, Leonardo.
—S., Age 13