Youth in DOC

Stories of Juvenile Sentences with “Adult Hanging”

Orientation Training Phase (OTP), part of the Youth Offender System (YOS) Facility in Pueblo, Colorado. OTP performs intake and assessment of convicted kids and is set up to run like a boot camp, with staff yelling at kids all the time. All of the kids at OTP have juvenile sentences with adult sentences hanging, meaning that if they mess up, they will have to serve their adult sentence.

Officer pictured is an ex-drill sergeant of 8 years at the U.S. Marine Base at Quantico. He is now a corrections officer at YOS Facility in Pueblo, Colorado.
I’m in OTP for robbery/kidnapping charges. I’ll be here for five years, with 15 adult years hanging. This was my first offense. My mother is a phlebotomist, my stepfather is a supervisor. I don’t know my biological father. I have two brothers and a sister I’ve used drugs and alcohol before. I went to school at XXXX in the facility I was in before OTP. There is no school at OTP.
— D.P. Age 16
I was sent here from general population. If I mess up here I can be sent to do adult time. I’ve been here for nine months. I have a six year sentence with 18 suspended. I was sentenced when I was 17. It was my first time. My mom lives in with her boyfriend and my dad died when I was 5. I dropped out in the 9th grade. I’m here for attempted murder, not gang related. I was sent to isolation for fighting this dude. I’m waiting to go back to the main facility. I’ve been here for two days already, but I’ll be here for another week or two.
— J.R. Age 19
I’m the youngest in YOS, I was locked up at 14. I was in boot camp and now here at OTP for 30-45 days. I’ve been here a month already. I have a seven year YOS and 25 years hanging for 2nd degree murder, but it was my first offense. I was at a party and some gang member came by and started physically abusing my mother and brother. I’m not a gang member, no one in my family is. Everyone in my family visits me. My mom works at a tire shop and my Dad is a carpenter. I am in 9th grade and do pretty decent with Bs and Cs. I would like to finish this and go on parole. Don’t know what I would like to do… I am too young to know.
— R.J. Age 15