“I’ve been here 20 times. Committed some crimes. PV. Here since I was 12. I been here a couple of months. I’ve done some stupid shit…arson, reckless burning, burglary. I live with my Mom. My Dad lives all the way in Oregon. I go to school. This year I am going to start high school. I do weed, nothing of the shit some other kids do. Other kids do heroin at 16. Not me. No one visits me. Only attorneys. My Mom doesn’t come here. I haven’t seen my Dad in six years. When I was five he chained me to the toilet and raped my Mom. I haven’t even seen my Dad in six years. I have four sisters and two brothers. One parties all the time. One sister works as a manger at Safeway. Being here doesn’t even help. You just want to come back here after a bit. They are too light on kids. They should be harsher on us and they should help us more. They don’t really teach us anything like real school, but its school to them.
I’ve been here 60 days now and haven’t been sentenced.
I’m reading Blood in/Blood out , Snitch—stuff like that. I have a radio because I am on honors. I am the man in the house. The guard calls me “Baby Popeye.” There is base level…that’s three days when you come in. Then tier two for seven days, tier three for fifteen days. If you behave you get honorable. If you get a shift or your day taken then you have to do 25 days to get honorable. Honorable means you can play video games, movies, candy. Every Sunday you get commentary… “Commissary?” Yeah. That’s it. You can get deodorant, cheerios. I’ve been here 60 days now and haven’t been sentenced. I caught a new charge. I beat an older guys ass. Not in school, on the street. He was 35 years old. He was a mental but I didn’t know it. So I got assault and harassment. But you don’t even know half, there’s more. I’m a member of the Sureños. I was jumped in, yes and no. I got beat up. Then I had to “put work in.” What’s work in? You have to do stuff, like kill someone, or sell stuff, like drugs or stolen cars.”
-K.Q., age 13, King County Juvenile Detention, Seattle, Washington