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!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Entry #597
Hands of Fate

The concept of a rewind button is something I have thought about many times since coming here. I would gladly sell my right hand for a chance at the rewind button. If I could go back to that day I would not have left the house. I would've out-danced the cruel grasp of fate. I would have skipped the many AR's & Glocks pointed at me that day. I would of bypassed being choked out by a cop. Most importantly, I would have skipped these last few months leading up to my trial and the many more to come, where I’m going to fight for my life, well actually fight against LIFE. It would have saved my mom countless tears. It would have withheld ammo for my degenerate "father" to scorn her with, not to mention a shitload of money we don't have. That one day I’m going to have to pay back along with the quarter mill I already owe to the hospitals. Damn, if I wouldn’t have left. Instead of sitting here I would be adjusting to my first job I had lined up and finding furniture for my first apartment I had filled out the rental app for.  And I would be out there breaking hearts, promises, and fingernails at my new school. But no, I'm here about to start my trial and my mom's still crying. I've played directly into the hands of fate.

Entry #598
Seven Months and Beautiful

If I had a re-do, or a re-start button I would re-start at the beginning. I would go to school and be a good kid and not get into trouble because, look at me, I'm locked up again! I've been coming here since 2010 and ever since I've been in and out. Now I have a daughter. She's seven months and very beautiful. She looks like both me and her mom and I wish I could re-do the program that I went to a year ago so I could just be with my family instead of being back here in this place. Since I can't change what's already happened, I just have to deal with what I've done. I have my mom, dad, lady, and daughter at home waiting for me and it's not fair to any of them that I'm not there help out. In the end I will be 18 and a better person and father. When I walk out of here my family will be together again.

Entry #599
Wrong Decisions

W-hat I did brought me to Juvenal Hall.
R-eality is where I need to be.
O-utside is the best, better than being inside four cold walls just staring at them.
N-ever say you won’t get caught because eventually you will.
G-ang life isn’t the life I want to live.
D-oing what I do is something I can change.
E-veryday I think of what I’m putting my family thorough.
C-aught up in the moment of failure.
I-‘ve realized sometimes happy moments don’t last forever.
S-taying out can be tough.
I-‘m going to learn from my mistakes.
O-ver thinking my past.
N-ever thought I’d be the way I am.
S-oberiety is what I’m doing until I leave home and until I die.

Entry #600
Lucky Zero
My name is zero because I’m locked up
My name will be dad for I will bear children
My name is son of God for I believe
My name is courage for I won’t give up
My name is happy because I don’t let fools get me down
My name is loyalty for I won’t betray
My name is summer for that is my favorite time of season
My name is funny for I make people laugh
My name is lefty for I write with my left hand
My name is student for I have much to learn
My name is youngster for I know elders
My name is respect for I treat others how I want to be treated
My name is brother for I am a sibling
My name is 17, for that’s my age
My name is bookworm for I read much
My name is lucky for I have such things

Entry #601
Off The Streets

I grew up a violent and apathetic person but as I've grown older I have learned my fists or even my mouth aren’t the solutions to my problems but the enemies to my success. Apathy, it's pulled me down my whole life. Over time I've dug myself a hole in which there is little to no escape. Now I have to dig myself out. I'm ten months deep and I'm slowly inching my way out. It isn’t easy and sometimes I feel like saying giving up, but I always catch myself and keep my eyes on the prize. I don't need praise from anyone because I've learned to be humble and not quit because no one notices what I'm doing. I know my goals and at this point I'm doing my best so when I do get out I will be off the streets. I won't wander around hungry. I won't have to struggle like I have seen my parents do my whole life. I'm going to thrive. I'm about to be 18 and it's time to grow up and choose my path.

Entry #602
This Day Forward

I have learned many things from my mistakes. The biggest thing I have
learned would have to be that wrong choices could land you behind a steel door. Now that I'm 18 those wrong choices could lead me into more trouble and land me in the big house instead of the "Day Care" I'm in now. Although I regret some of the choices I've made I know they have shaped me into the person I am today. Now, my mistakes are in the past and I have paid my dues. Though I still have to pay for them from time to time my life is free to go in any direction I want it to go. From this moment on my life is going to change. I'm going to stop making such bad decisions. Before I leave here, with hope, I'm going to get my GED. When I am released I'm going to get on track and get my life together. So from now on it going to be different.

Entry #603
Roller Coaster High

My addiction has me on a roller coaster. So high that it's impossible to come down. Drugs jam-packing my soul, heartless like the devil told me. These wicked drugs are taking me to hell, oh so lonely. These pits are full of nothing but impurity, surely enough it's going to kill me. No one’s here but these drugs to control me. I'm trying to make this addiction fictitious but in reality, it's so vicious.

Entry #604
My Favorite Mistake

My favorite mistake is getting locked up. Being locked up, I have learned new ways to stay out of trouble. Being locked up has given me more time to think about all my mistakes. It has helped me gain more self-respect. It gives me a reason for being alive. If I hadn’t of been locked up, I would have been getting high and could even be dead. Being locked up has saved my life many times. It is a mistake, but it is also a good thing. I have had more time to talk to my family and also see how much they all missed me while I was on the run. I’ve made many mistakes but, leaving my family was one of the biggest. Getting locked up has devastated my mom. It reminds her of my dad and how he has always been incarcerated. Also I have earned the majority of my high school credits while locked up in juvenile hall. The education program really does try it’s best to educate the majority of us minors. So I do think being locked up is my favorite mistake. My mom would disagree with me, but she always encourages me to do well and to go to school while I’m locked up. Being incarcerated has helped me to become more of a man than I was before I started to notice all my mistakes I’ve made. I’ll never forget this mistake I have made over and over again.

Entry #605
Same Path

Sitting in my cell with so many thoughts running through my mind, some good and some bad. Just wish I didn’t have so much time to think about this stuff. It would be so much better to be out and do what I need to and take care of my family. Here I am locked down all the time wasting my life. My being in here just hurts more and more people I love. My brother is locked up doing 10 years and now I’m locked up again. My family and others I have love for don't need all the stress. They worry about me going down the same path which I don't want to, but it's hard because he and I are so much alike.

Entry #606
A is for Apple

A-lmost always calm.
B-etter than I used to be.
C-almer than I used to be.
D-oing what is asked of me.
E-ngaged in my tasks.
F-ocused on my life.
G-etting better every day.
H-onest most of the time.
I-ntrigued by knowledge.
J-ust as I want to be.
K-nowledgeable about most things.
L-ike most people.
M-y own person.
N-ever worry too much.
O-pen to suggestions.
P-ersistent in most everything I do.
Q-uiet at times.
R-esilient when things get hard.
S-tuck in juvenile hall.
T-rapped in a cell.
U-nderstand most things.
V-ery remorseful about my actions.
W-riting an assignment in F*****’s class.
X-rated is how I used to act.
Y-earning for another chance.
Z-oned in on where I want to go.

Entry #607
A Bigger Box

I have no hope. When they let me out of my cell I'm just in a bigger box and it's getting harder to control my actions. Waking up and knowing today is going to be just like yesterday is stressful. And I've been away from my family so long being in placements and the Hall that I don't really know them anymore and I think they're cool with that. They think I'll ruin the happy family thing they got going on. I want something good to happen to me, but right now, I don’t expect anything to change.

Entry #608

The mistake I made is to put myself in jail. I wish I would have never ended up in this place. My life was going good until I started to wander the streets. If I wasn’t on the streets, I would have been living a perfect life. I should have just listened to my mom when she told me to go to school and stay off the streets. I did not listen to her, did my own thing and ended up in jail. I wish I could just start my life over and would have listened to mom and what she told me the first time. I had a good life before I started causing trouble. I used to be in the streets every day and not go home until 9 or 10 pm. I should have gone home before I got a new charge. Now, I am sitting in cell thinking, why I didn’t just go home that morning and why didn’t I just listen to my mom.

Entry #609

My mistake began when I started stealing cars. I started to steal them every day. I even got locked up for it. That still didn’t help me shaped up, but one day I was in a car crash with my friend and I almost lost my leg. I had to have surgery for it. The day when my doctor told me that I almost lost my leg and the fact that I almost died shaped me up. Now I’m on probation and I have scars on my ankle. I don’t like it. I hate that car crash, however, it helped me change my life. Now I don’t steal cars or even get in one. I try to tell my friends, not to do that because of what happened to me. I don’t want them to go through what I went through. If I stop maybe they will see me not stealing and they might stop stealing too. I stopped stealing cars; I’m a changed person.                                                 

Entry #610
It’s Time For Me To Go

The life that I had growing up was hard because my mom was always twisting the pipe or beating my ass when she did not have the dope to put in the glowi. I rarely lived at home with my mom really because she was always spun out of her mind or losing our house. So one day I just said screw it, it’s time for me to go and that was when I was nine or ten. I went to the streets and found some people that I could relate to and they soon became my family.  I had new brothers, sisters, and I even found someone that I could call mom and dad.  They were the ones that took care of me.  By the time I turned 12 years old, I started gang banging, putting in work, and selling drugs.  These were the only things that I really knew how to do.

Entry #611
On the Run

One mistake I did was going on the run. I was going to school, doing my community service and going to my drug program. I went on the run and started doing drugs again, but I think getting locked up is helping me get my head together. I started going back to school and stopped using. This is why going on the run was my favorite mistake.

Entry #612
Sticks and Stones

My name is Fallen Angel.
I was named Angel because there is good in me,
But I have fallen because I always make mistakes.
My name, Fallen Angel, represents the devil for he was God’s angel who would always do wrong.
I have been known as Fallen Angel for far too long.
I was given this name, because I occasionally sin and I never fail to let the devil in.
But I don’t always sin, I do good.
I do good deeds and also help others who are in need.
I’m just known as God’s Fallen Angel for I have disgraced many of my family members.
The good I do no one seems to remember.
It’s just the bad and that’s why Fallen Angel is the only name I have ever had.
But being called Fallen Angel doesn’t make me mad it just reminds me of what I have done,
And that I will always be God’s fallen son.
My name is Fallen Angel and I am not ashamed, I am the only one who can be blamed.
It’s my fault I’m an Angel who could not be tamed.
So Fallen Angel is what my name shall remain

Entry #613
My Favorite Mistake

My favorite mistake took place in January. I was seventeen years old living with my boyfriend (along with his family). My dream was to be with the love of my life 24/7. What I didn’t realize, is I chose to to stay away from my family. During those few months I lost out on irreplaceable time and memories with each one of my siblings and, most of all, my parents. Regardless, they stayed by my side. I remember the night I called my mom around 2 am because I got arrested. It felt like a dream; never in a million years would I have imagined making that phone call. It has been four and one half months since I have seen my brother and sisters. I get to see my parents twice a week, but it is not enough. I have been selfish and did not realize the unconditional love my family has for me despite my flaws. I can at least say I forgive myself and I have been blessed with a family of my own. This is my favorite mistake.

Entry #614
My real name is locked, key thrown away.
My name will be remembered, even after my day.
My name so high, soaring like a bird
Out of control, rebellious, a gunshot to be heard.
My name will not be shushed, quieted, or ignored.
Constantly climbing reaching for something more.
A punch in the face, a spray of some mace
100 meters, a quick paced race.
My name stings with rage, controlled only by a cage.
Never ashamed, for my name is mine.
Entry #615
Here and Now
My name is not yesterday, nor tomorrow, but it is today. Yesterday is forgotten and tomorrow may never come. The days of the past have been hard but only to be forgotten. The days to come are unknown but only planned on what is wanted. This is why my name is today. Today is what can be done. By doing good today I can change my name for tomorrow. If I went back into my past and lived every day like my last, my life wouldn’t get anywhere fast. My name is not tomorrow, nor yesterday, but is Today.

Entry #616
New Focus

       I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life. My biggest mistake was leaving my grandparents’ house when I was twelve years old. Now I am going to be eighteen. I love my grandparents very much and they love me too. They took care of me since I was a baby.
   It helped me by getting locked up, because I am learning. I learn something new every day. I’ve been through so much. Drugs and alcohol were taking over in my life. Guys would not support me. I would leave and cheat. I was lost in the world.
 I was lost in love, but I couldn’t love someone who didn’t love me. Being locked up helps me stay away from drugs and guys. Those things will not be the focus of my life anymore. I pray that life won’t be a struggle.

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