Juveline in Justice
1. Ethan Allen School, Wales, Wisconsin
2. Giddings State School, Giddings, Texas
3. Racine Juvenile Detention, Racine, Wisconsin
4. Juvenile Detention Center, Houston, Texas.
5. I was at the packing plant for about 16 months. I come here to St. Bridgette’s for help. Father Paul does his best for us. ICE had a big raid, lots of trucks and men with guns and helicopters. They deported most of the people but kept some of us to go to court against the owners. They had a lot of minors working here. All of us were from the same little village in Guatemala. We live in houses that the company owns. I think they let me stay because of my baby. —R.T., age 16 Postville, Iowa.
6. They come in once a day and do a search of my room. Everything I have in there, everything, goes out — including the inside of the mattress and a body search — once a day. It happens any time. Random. I was arrested for assault against a 13-year-old girl. It’s sort of all right, but it also really sucks. You have to listen to officers and do exactly what they tell you to do. I’m the only girl in here, so it’s boring and lonely. I’m here for VOP [violation of probation]. I was at home with an ankle bracelet but ran away to Juárez with my boyfriend and another couple. They got married in Juárez. I got mad at my mother and started throwing chairs and cut my ankle bracelet. I’ve been here four months now. —D.M., age 14 Challenge Program, Juvenile Detention Facility, El Paso, Texas.
7. I hope I get out in March. Mostly depends on my level of achievement. We stuck in here today because one of the guys in our cottage didn’t feel like getting out of bed, so we all stuck here. We have class here today too. I been here awhile but I want to go back to my home in north St. Louis. They let you wear your own clothes here. —B .D., age 16 Soaring Eagles Cottage in Hillsboro Treatment Center, Missouri. B.D. had his hand on his crotch under a sweatshirt. The director, Betty Dodson, said, “Take your hand off your imagination.” He laughed and brought his hand up.
8. Camera monitoring of the isolation room at St. Louis Detention Center, St. Louis, Missouri
9. I was picked up for probation violation. I’m not happy being here … even less happy having to stay here. I just met with some people from the court, CPS, and probation, I think. They told me I “turned the corner.” —B .R., age 14 St. Louis Detention, Missouri. When a juvenile is brought in, a meeting is held with a court officer, Child Protective Services agent, and other authorities to determine if the child will go home into family custody or stay at the detention center — this is known as “turning the corner.” This girl has turned the corner: she has to stay at the facility, and she’s miserable.
10. I’ve been here for a week. I think they call this the observation room. I go to class in the morning and then comes back to my room. I don’t like to read and there is no TV to watch. I sort of sit here, eat here — you know. I was supposed to come home today, but my aunt didn’t come. I can’t live with my mom or dad. I’ve been here three times before. This is the longest. My aunt doesn’t visit … she never sure when the visiting days are. Actually I didn’t tell my aunt that I’m here [she has to be notified]. —G.P., age 14 Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center, Caldwell, Idaho. G.P. is “low functional,” as described by the detention head, who tells me that Child Protective Services is involved as well. G.P. has very slow mannered speech. He has been charged with battery against his aunt. The striped suits, which are standard issue here, have been banned in other states as early as 1904 for being “too dehumanizing.”