Juvenile Hall

Juvenile Hall

Writing Exchange 2006-2018

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Siskiyou, El Dorado, Placer, Fresno, and Butte County. Students are given journal topics and asked to write what needs to be written. Several entries are handpicked from each classroom site and posted to the blog anonymously. Students at each site then read the material together, discussing the writing and connecting with others.

Planned Exchanges

Planned Exchanges 2018: May 24; June 27; July 25; More To Come!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Entry #1

I was a stubborn flood, drowning those around me.
I remember the fragile lies making people sigh.
I heard calm insults under their breath.
I saw inhumane acts.
I am a witty storm, born to bring a revolution!
I hate burnt popcorn.
I love the lazy sunshine that makes those Sunday afternoons warm and timeless.
I have certain ideas that no one has ever seen.
I want calm anarchy causing relaxed chaos.
I am what I think I am and you have no power now
I deserve life and rebirth
I will find a repaired path to the top and when I get there, I’ll keep heading up!
I am...I am…You are…You are!

Entry # 2

My life is kind of going good right now because I’m going home to my mom and not to a group home or foster home. I’m so happy, but, yeah, I haven’t been home for about two or three years. Now I’m going home to my house and I’m going to do good, go to school, and get a job. My birthday is coming up. I’m going to be seventeen on January twenty-eighth. I grew up in a good home, but I ended up getting involved with gangs because the people I kicked it with banged. So I started getting into leaving home just to go kick it with them.
Growing up was good, my grandma raised me. I was two years old when I went to live with her. My brother, my sisters, and I were going to go to foster homes but my grandma took us instead and I lived with her until I was fifteen. Then I went to live with my sister, ******. Things went good for a while then as time passed, I started being worse, got locked up and ended up in a foster home. That didn’t go well. Anyways, time went by and now this is my fifth time in here and I hate it.
I’m going home to my mom soon. Usually it would be my grandma but she died last year on July 25th. She was my second mom. I dream about her. She was only 65 or 66, I don’t really know but it’s somewhere around there. Now I’m going to be 17 yrs old and I need to grow up.

Entry #3

All the years just sipping the beers
Too many times I saw her in tears
A sheet of sweat that’s transparent in light
Realistic nightmares, something wasn’t right
A friend once told me a special sentence
To see your future with every consequence
We as people get caught in the moment
Most mistakes, friends are the main component
So see the words and mark every line
Don’t blink at my life and listen to the wise
Keep my eye on a goal let no one in my way
I find bad habits that will always stay
Do not open the wrong door, my life will be rocked
Sure I can close it but it will never be locked

Entry #4

School Rap
I like school, I really do,
I be chilling in class and it’s truly, really cool,
Sometimes the teacher has some work for us to do,
I get done with it so fast it’s just like WHOO!
Who can beat me in this rap thing? NO ONE CAN!!
Oh and for your info, my bunkie is my right hand man,
My vent buddy in front of me is my left hand man,
Next period is the ladies, some that I can’t stand,
But oh well, when it comes to work I’m so swell,
But in some other topics I stink like toenails,
“Go to jail” says the chance card I pulled in this game of life,
But I rolled doubles so it’s still my turn to roll the dice,
Just a word of advice you should think before you act,
Don’t always try to add, sometimes you must subtract,
I thought I was good at math, yet I keep coming back,
Doing time is wasting time, there’s not enough and that’s a fact!

Entry #5

If you really knew me
If you really knew me you would know I love my family with all my heart,
If you really knew me you would know my mom is a great mother!
If you really knew me you would know I’m 16 years of age,
If you really knew me you would know my mother raised me on her own,
If you really knew me you would know I don’t have a “dad” and I hate the person, who would have had that title,
If you really knew me you would know he abused my beautiful mother,
If you really knew me you would know me.

Entry #6

I don’t know what dreams are
And I don’t know if I will ever have a dream
But, if I were to dream
It would be of me in the marines
Earning respect from my family
If I were to dream
It would be of me out at sea risking my life Alaskan Crab fishing
Earning enough money to support my family
And if I were to ever have a dream
It would be of me simply starting a family

Entry #7

Everybody complains about everything being the same while locked up. Well I got something for you, don’t get locked up.
This is about juvenile hall!!!!!
Same clothes, same shirt, same boxers, same shorts, same pants, same clothes.
Same recreation times, same program every day, same staff.
Same meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s all the same. You’re always being told what to do. So if you don’t like it don’t get locked up.

Entry #8

Feeling tall, off the wall, all the feelings let them fall
My family on the outs, miss them ***** in the hall
Strong conversations, to your friends you confide
All the punks staring, I decide to let them slide
For all the true vivid anger shall bring me down
But in the spur of the moment my enemies sound
Caught in that net of all that confusion
A true fight, fist to fist, hatred naturally transfused in

Entry #9

Today, the 29th of January I got up at six in the morning for showers and took mine in three minutes. After I showered and cleaned my room I went back to fall asleep, or was it stay up and be tired? They ‘popped’ open my door to have me help with setting up the food for breakfast. I helped with the oranges and when I finished went back to the Pod to eat breakfast. After breakfast I got my toothbrush and cup of paste and then was sent back to my room. Ten minutes later the door popped again, this time to help with dish crew. I set the dishes up and then I was sent back down to the pod to be on time for school. This is pretty much what I have been doing for the last forty-six days straight. I got a kid coming March 20th of this year. I’m seventeen and I have a kid coming in a couple months! I’m too young, but it is a part of life. I get out soon and I will be on EMP. Between the first to the fifth of February is when I am to get out. I hope it is sooner rather than later because I really miss my family and my baby momma. I almost forgot that my baby momma is eighteen years old. I am a year younger than she is, but I still love her. I am starting a new school when I get out. I’m nervous and hope I can get done with my last thirty-nine credits to finish high school. Then I can get a job and support my new family. I will start soon and that is just a little bit of my life.

Entry #10

I was a very big drug addict last year.
I remember when my father passed away.
I heard that I was getting six months.
I saw my mother crying.
I worried that when I get out I might come back.
I thought I was going to finish high school before I turned 18.
But I want to change.
I am a person who likes to work hard.
I think the world is a wonderful place if you make it.
I need to get my diploma and go to college.
I try to do better in school.
I feel a little sad but angry at the same time.
I forgive my older brother.
Now I can change.
I will be a California highway patrolman.
I choose to stay away from all drugs.
I dream about my father a lot.
I hope I will be able to see my father when I pass away.
I predict that I will have a good job and a pretty wife with seven kids.
I know I will be successful with a college degree.

Entry #11

I was going to my dad’s house.
I hate when I can’t go.
I remember the first time I went to my dad’s new house.
I love to go see my dad.
I heard that he got out of prison.
I have been waiting to see him for a long time.
I saw him for the first time in four years.
I wanted to go see him as soon as he got out but couldn’t.
Regardless, I am happy that I got to see him.
I craved his famous spaghetti as soon as I saw him.
I wish I could have seen him sooner.
I will see him now for as long as he lives.
I am so happy I can see my dad.

Entry #12

I was lost.
I remember being away.
I heard from my parents.
I saw myself drowning slowly.
I worried that my dreams were long gone.
I thought about what my purpose is.
But, I want to change.
I am ambitious.
I think life is what you make it.
I need to keep my focus.
I try to be more Christ-like.
I feel saved.
Now I can change.
I will do whatever is necessary for my sobriety.
I choose to put my faith in God.
I dream that I’ll play college basketball.
I hope for the best and expect the worse.
I predict myself being content.
I know I have it in me.
I will change.

Entry #13

My Nightmare Keeper
Who are you to tell me?
You don’t know what I have seen.
You don’t know what I have done.
You don’t know the blood and tears
I have shed, and the pain I feel.
Who are you to tell me?
You don’t know the demons that visit me.
You don’t know the things I’m forced to do.
Sometimes it gets hard when the devil
Wraps his fingers around my neck tighter and
Tighter, and he tells me I’m his wicked queen.
The blood in my veins starts to race and my heart pumps.
I hear a high pitch scream. Boom!
My eyes open and it is all over once again, and over for now.

Entry #14

One day I was hanging out with my friends when my girlfriend texted me, and told me she thought she was pregnant. She said she was waiting for her mom to get a pregnancy test. I had no idea what to think. I was only 16 years old when she sent me a picture of the test she took, and guess what it read… positive. My heart almost stopped beating I was so scared. The first thing I thought of was abortion. We talked about it and decided we couldn’t do that. We decided to keep it. When we went to the doctor for a sonogram we found out it was a boy. As time went on I got used to the fact I was having a child and it wasn’t that scary anymore. I was more anxious to see what it would be like having a son. When my girlfriend went into labor we went to the hospital and before I knew it, I was watching my son being born. Wow, that was something I don’t want to see again. Right now my son is 3 months old, and I love him so much. I wouldn’t take him back if I could… I want to be there for my son his entire life, unlike my father was for me.

Entry #15

If I could write a letter to myself when I was 7, I would write don’t get in trouble. Keep on going to school. Don’t associate with people who drink or do drugs, and don’t do them either. Don’t hit your brothers and don’t talk back to mom or dad. Because if she does all that, she is going to get locked up on September 4th, 2009. I would also tell her that she is going to meet her first boyfriend on March 21, 2009, and get pregnant in June 2009. But what I would really like to ask her to do is all that she is supposed to do, like keep going to school. Don’t ditch school, at all, listen to your teacher and obey her rules. Try your best at school, keep your grades up. Don’t get in fights at school. Avoid things that might affect your body like; beer, liquor, and drugs. Avoid hanging out with the wrong people. Listen to your parents, don’t talk back to them, and don’t hit your brothers. I would just ask her to do everything she is supposed to, so she won’t get locked up.

Entry #16

The lost entry

Entry #17

I was 7years old and living on the south side. My mom used to tweak. I used to get in fights with people I don’t even know. I saw *** **** druggies come and leave. So now I am fifteen and locked up because I was raised with drugs in my life. When I am on the outs, I still look both ways. Not for cars, but for people. They all know me because of my mom. I am trying to get out of this hellhole, because what if I get shot or stabbed because I say no? I want to make it to my 22nd birthday. I want a family some day, I want to move out of California. We will never know what might happen. Boom another homeboy dead. What can happen? You will never know what will happen. So I live in the shadow. Please help me God if there is one…

Entry #18

When I was a young kid with my friends we used to have a lot of dreams. As I got older and more mature, I wondered about the reality of those dreams. Then I hit teenage years and all those dreams started to change. Because of some of my interests, I landed myself in a facility which was one of the last places I ever wanted to be. Now that I know what is really right from wrong, I’m going to have to change my thinking so I don’t get back in the same mess.

Entry #19


I was lost in a world of drugs and violence.
I remember when I got arrested by the 5-0, and had to leave my old lady behind.
I heard I was doing 6 months in ****.
I saw myself dying at the hospital.
I worried I wouldn’t make it that night.
I thought I was gonna end up dead, without a trace.
But, I want to change.

I am a young teenager, lost in the gang life surrounded by violence.
I think my life is great, but I’m confused with my life style.
I need to have faith and hope in myself to succeed.
I try to forget about the past and move on with my life.
I feel sad and lonely up these four-walls.
I forgive my old lady for the bad things she’s done in the past.
Now I can change.

I will change my life style around and start a new life.
I choose a better life style with a positive path to follow.
I dream to graduate high school and go to a four year college.
I predict I will be successful in the future with a dream to live.
I know I will become someone important in the future.
I will change.

Several of the following poems are remixes of poems written by Tupac Shakur

Entry #20
Time and I
And I am alone just simply me. Sit, as I watch the days go
Bye behind this glass barrier I’ve made for myself.
I’ve been here for a while watching,
Making plans about the outside world.
As I take a breath, going to break through,
I resist. I reside back behind the glass…
I continue to watch time go by me
Passing me like the lighting does the
Heavens. As hours turn into days, days turning
Into weeks and weeks to months. I cannot come
To breathe the air outside my own.
As knees grow week and palms become sweaty
I try to be strong to even touch this glass
Small taps to break through. But once again…
I have failed. I am becoming a prisoner behind this glass that
Was meant to protect, now has become a
Hollow place of anxiety and distrust. I can only imagine
What would happen if this temple broke, mental awareness
Of the word, death and sorrows, pleading and tragedies that
Even the eyes of Satan would water at. Things that
Should go unspoken of... things that my mind is shielded
From. I fear them. Never wanting to feel or hurt.
So I sit. Return to the spot behind the glass barrier
Where I’ve always been. Watching the time go by.
hours turn into days, days turning
Into weeks and weeks to months, months to years.

Entry #21
Today is filled with anger, fueled with the hidden hate. I walk on this world having to be alert which the feeling is not great. Today is built with tragedies which no one wants to face. The mistakes I make sadden my family which makes me feel like a disgrace. Tonight is filled which rage, violence in the air. Nobody believes in me which makes me just not care. Tonight I lay my bed down but the pressure never stops, knowing the sanity content when I’m dropped. I live to walk for a reason but I don’t listen to what I am told, the streets I walk on frighten me so I stay on my toes. I see change, a chance to build a new, build on spirit intent of heart and ideas based on truth. The things people tell me they expect me to trust them, but when I look in their eyes I see nothing. Tomorrow I wake with second wind and strong because of pride. I’m a dog in this world ready to ride or die without a tear because I ain’t one to cry. I know I fought with all my heart to keep the dream alive. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover because even though I look like a crook remember that you still have your eyes, and even though you still choose to look at me that’s why I come up to you and ask why? Don’t stand around and ask question, do what you got to do, be down for yours and maybe what you wanted may come true…

Entry #22
Tonight I lay my head down but the pressure never stops
I think of thoughts I’d hate to dream, and dream of all my thoughts
Nightmares to humanity and morally disgraced
This mind of mine produces dreams I someday have to face
Reality, I try to shake but that can never be
Realities, insanity and everything I see
Scared of being outcast, afraid of common fate
I try to be of life and go through all the things I hate
Learned to walk without having feet
And breathe a second wind
When no one else ever cared
I fought the pride within
A hand is all the help we need, don’t say I never tried
I know I fought with all my heart to keep the dream alive.

Entry #23
A place to start and a place to end
I started there but ended here, once was an innocent child but now live in fear,
I’ve nearly been killed but surely saved,
I’ve been in numerous cells but haven’t met the grave,
I’m fed up and don’t know which way to turn,
Some say do like usher but it’s hard to let it burn,
I live and learn, but never forget, I pray for a blessing but a case is all I get
I’ve been told everything happens for a reason,
I’ve been blessed with freedom now it’s my season,
I get on my knees, and beg god please,
Salute to the heavens standing at ease,
I’ve been through this and that,
But I stand tall and this is where I’m at, trying to change my ways on a positive stride,
Tell the truth and rarely lie,
And stop being stubborn thinking I know more stuff than that Bill Nye guy.

Entry #24
As I lie there;
I watch the ocean waters move before me;
& I think about the way things used to be and then I start to cry;
Today is built on tragedies which no one wants to face;
But I have no choice but to deal with the grief;
& as I lie there
The pain fills my aching heart;
This is something a bandage will not fix;
Sometimes I wish I could heal myself;
We all know it’s not possible
Instead I just lay there & count my days in this place.

Entry #25
As I watch cops go by
I wonder to my self
Do I live or die?
Taking another breath from this hateful world,
I look up and say what did I do for this life?
Hopin’ I could have another chance to live.
Life is rough and then you die but when you
Go will the person who says they care cry?
I think not for what I’ve done
I’ve done too much to say I’m your son.
Could you forgive and forget about
The past or would you put me
Somewhere you know I won’t last?
I’ve been around drugs and guns
And people who kill but I feel that
They have respect that’s real.
You push me so far over that it’s
Hard to respect the one who gave
Me birth, but deep down in my heart it
Really hurts.
You’re like a bullet from a chop, you put a
deep open hole in my heart.
Ain’t no way to fix it.
Might as well just leave me in the dark.
I just want the one I love to at least play the part…

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