“Juvenile In Justice”
Juvenile In Justice is a project, published as a book, to document the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them. The project includes images of over 1,000 juveniles and administrators in more than 200 facilities in 31 states, plus extensive information collected from interviews.
The hope is that by seeing these images, people will have a better understanding of the conditions that exist. Children’s identities are always protected and faces are never shown.
The project book, published in 2012 by photojournalist Richard Ross, includes essays by Ira Glass of National Public Radio’s This American Life and Bart Lubow, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group.
Our slide show includes images used in this episode and is just a glimpse of the book’s powerful images. You can see the entire project, and follow the blog, at the Juvenile In Justice website.
- Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Miami, FL
The Center is run by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and has a maximum bed population of 226, but can exceed that number by more than 100. According to their own material, The Center has an average length of stay, per youth, of 13 days.
- Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, Miami, FL
This correctional center has 1,300 beds for male and female inmates of various levels of custody. Officers work inside housing units and directly supervise inmates 24 hours a day. At the time of visit, the facility was cold, in the low 60s.
D.H, age 15, is in the 9th grade. He says that he originally had 16 charges of armed robbery, which were eventually dropped to seven. He is also charged with attempted murder. He has never been in jail or juvie prior to this incident. He has been in TGK for three weeks. His mom, step dad and little sister visit him. He does not know his father. His mom was in and out of jail in California. He is not affiliated with any gangs. He was kicked out of school. At TGK he attends school and church. He says, "How did I get a gun? Someone gives you a gun."
- Douglas County Juvenile Detention, Lawrence, KS
O. was 12 last month. Has been here a week and has a week to go. Probation Violation. Battery (a fight) and when Douglas County Youth Services was called he didn’t want to get in the car, so he didn’t put on his seat belt. Another violation. He got into a fight with a kid his age. He was calling his mother names. He was also charged with criminal damage. Beating up a car. He was abused by his step dad when he was little. Mom doesn’t work. Lives with his REAL Dad’s Dad. Nathan lives with his Grandpa and his Mother, who pay rent to her former father in law. And also supports and pays for Nathan. She now lives with her new fiancé. He has 2 brothers and one sister. He gets all As in school. He has another week here. He is SANCTIONED here for two weeks. He cannot leave earlier. He went to day school. Got into a fight in regular school. Went to day school next door for eight months. Transitioned back to regular school and got in a fight within 3 days.
They have a private intake facility and a day school attached. Many of the parole Violators were truants. So they get picked up by a school bus and are forced to be in school at the Detention Center. Classes are separate and populations are separate. The only way you would know the kid is going to Day School at Probation is by the teacher’s names.
The detention center has 12 kids as residents and 14 kids as Day School. They are licensed for 18. There are issues with unproductive activities and kids sitting around waiting for trial. Facility serves NE Kansas counties where there are a few smaller regional facilities.
- Caldwell Juvenile Center, Caldwell, ID
Kids ages 11-17. When they turn 18, they are released to an adult institution. The prison population contains more Hispanic youths than the general population. Isolation Cells. Kids eat in cells. Average stay is 14 days, some kids stay longer.
Gabriel is 14 years old. Been here for a week. He goes to class in the AM and comes back to his room; he doesn't read, doesn't watch TV. He sits in the cell. He eats in the cell. He was supposed to come home today, but his Aunt didn't come. He can't live with his mother nor father. His aunt doesn't visit; she is never sure when the visiting days are. He didn't tell his aunt that he is here (she has to be notified). He is low functional and has a very slow mannered speech. CPS must be involved as well. He has been charged with battery against his aunt.
- Intake at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, Downey, CA
- Hale Ho'omalu Juvenile Hall, Honolulu, HI
At the time these images were shot, the facility was under a Memorandum of Understanding from the Department of Justice. It has since been shut down and replaced with a new facility.
C.C, age 16, an 11th grader, has been here one week. He is under court order to stay isolated from other kids. C.C was adopted and has been in foster care for about 11 years. He committed a crime when he was in 7th grade—residential burglary—but nothing really bad since then, just lots of probation violations, like being tardy to school and not appearing at his parole officer meeting. He says that "drug court saved my life." His mom is into drugs, and his dad was deported to the Philippines. C.C. has three sisters and lets me [Ross] know that all the kids are split up. He sees them once in a great while. The only person who visits him is his YMCA drug counselor.
- St. Louis Detention Center, St. Louis, MO
In St. Louis, MO, detention centers are run by the Courts. Committed facility is run by DYS. There are 137 beds. Only 35 kids today. The population is way down because of embrace of JDAI principals and Judge Edwards. JDAI also has to redirect staff to alternative positions. Normally probation violators, status offenders are not held long in detention. The average stay is 26 days. 75-day soft maximum. ALL is preajudication. The staff are referred to as Missa or Mister.
- Ethan Allen School, Wales, WI
S.T., age 15, is named after a famous, living basketball player. He's from Milwaukee and has been at Ethan Allen for two years. I [Ross] asked if he could have the shackles removed while we speak in a controlled room: the answer was no. He has been housed in Martin, a higher security portion of the facility, for about a week, after he refused to return to his cell. He yearns to go back to JUNO (a place for the younger, smaller, more fragile kids -- the ones more subject to victimization), where he was originally housed. His mother works in a nursing home. His father is unemployed, and simply "does stuff around the house" and takes care of his little brother, age 10, and his little brother sister, age 7.
- Ethan Allen School, Wales, WI
230 boys were there at time of visit. The average age is between 13-18, and they can stay at Ethan School until they are 23. It now costs $268 a day, per kid, to house and service them.
- Giddings State School, Giddings, TX
The facility houses 320 juveniles and three types of offenders: capital and violent offenses, sexual offenses and chemical and substance dependency. The juveniles are segregated according to age and in school for 5.5 hours a day, 12 months a year. They have two hours of recreation a day. Some participate in the TAPP (Texas Association of Parole School Athletics) Program, playing football, basketball or track. There is only a 30% rate of recidivism from this institution.