"I didn’t want to run all my life . . ." / by richard ross

I turned myself in on a warrant. I didn’t want to run all my life. The first placement I was 17-years-old. My mom said she couldn't parent me the way she works. She’s an RN at the hospital. She takes care of my two brothers and my three-year-old son. My godmother helps out too. I was 15 when I had him. She’s just taking care of him while I’m here.

I don’t blame nobody but myself for being here.


AWOL is leave without permission. I’d go anywhere because I wanted to. Everywhere I would go I would go by myself. But sometimes I would take the baby. I would just walk out the door and sleep at my friend’s house. I think I just wanted to be grown. I wasn't going back to school. I just came back in here on Wednesday. I think my mom’s supposed to come visit me today. I tried to rush my own age. Maybe it’s cause my dad is deceased. He had a cardiac arrest when I was 15. I don’t blame nobody but myself for being here.

-L.Y., age 18


**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited for content.