I should have graduated in here but I’m gonna go to a continuation school. I don’t have much education.
I’m gonna be here four more months even though I’m 18. When I went to court they said I would have to do six months. I’ve been here 3 times. I’m from El Salvador. I came here when I was eight. My mom married a citizen, so now I’m a citizen as well. As soon as I get out, my mom wants to take me to Salvador to show me what it’s like. I was at a party and it got raided and the cops asked me for information. I didn’t give them any; I wouldn’t even give them my name. I was messed up. I should have given them my name. I live with my mom who works at a fabric factory and my stepdad who works at a pawnshop. My younger sister is sixteen and she has a two-year-old daughter. I have an older brother—they’ve both been in the system before. I’m not really a gang member but I’ve done some tagging. A1A and stuff like that. I should have graduated in here but I’m gonna go to a continuation school. I don’t have much education. I get out in two months, and then I don’t know.
-K.G., 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.