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, August 5, 2015

Entry #914
16 years in prison, no big deal
Mom’s out of prison, how do I feel?
I missed this woman whose name is mom
Can’t remember her face, gone for too long
Remember as a child I was taken away
From mom way back when on a Christmas day
My present from cps was to start a new life
No mom, no dad, had to fight to stay alive
Group home to group home, bounced around
Foster parents were ruthless, spanking abound
Then dad came to save me from Mr. Evil
Me and my sister safe from the cruelty
No shame in my game, we were living life
Then my dad met my step-mom: Mrs. Right
She had a daughter and 2 sons of her own
She practically raised me, I was never alone
10 years later mom's outta the pen
Promises me she won’t go back in
I'm fresh out of a placement named ROP
She’s clean and sober as clean and sober can be
Know I’m locked back up, product of a jailhouse breed
2 more phases to go, then I’ll be free.

Entry #915
The Mindset
I feel like I can really relate to Nelson Mandela’s quote because I’m the type to hold a grudge.  I know if I can’t convince myself to let things go, then I’ll always be plotting on ways to get back at people who I feel did me dirty. This is probably part of the reason I’m on probation and locked up in the first place. If I could just have the mindset Mandela had and leave behind all my hatred for certain people, then MAYBE I wouldn't be in the position I am now. I’m starting to learn not to let the little things get to me, but it seems like my pride always takes over, and I feel like I NEED to fight a certain person, or I NEED to smoke and drink just because everyone around me is doing it. I realize now that none of that is worth it, and 15 years from now I guarantee no one will remember any of this. If I keep doing the things I do, I’ll probably keep coming in and out of juvenile hall like the rest of these kids.

Entry #917
Gone and In the Past
Yeah I screwed myself but the system didn’t help much either.  It has taken me from my family and made my life hell classifying me with a bunch of kids I’m nothing like. They think they know what’s in my best interest but they don’t. I’m just a kid struggling trying to find my way and sorry I couldn't choose my mom or the way that I was raised. I’m done.  I mean it, I’m really ****** done living life in & out the hall or constantly up on the run. I wish I’d never robbed that house or started ditching school for a girl, but it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone and in the past. It’s time to take a step forward and live everyday like it’s my last. I have my future in my hands & hold the key to my fate. I've lived a crazy 16 years, looking death in the face. Dad, I’m sorry you had to play two roles as a parent because of the mom I never had.  I knew that times were hard and I only made them harder, but you never gave up. I couldn't ask for a better father.

Entry # 920
Slab of Concrete
They give you a slab of concrete and a mat; call it a bed, but I ain’t even buyin’ it
Whatever it is, I made it, so I’m gonna’ have to lie in it
In this life there’s no retrying, you gotta roll with the punches
Takes a strong will to live, because problems roll up in bunches
480 shitty lunches, and I’m getting’ ready for another
Do what you gotta do, I look at adversity as my lover
I met her undercover, she came to me as the fast life
Dressed up as P licks, bops, and them glass pipes
But as I reflect on past fights, stabbings, and shootings
I realize the game wasn't enhancing my life, it was actually diluting
The dreams I was pursuing, are no longer in reach
But I got no one to blame but myself

Entry #923
In Pursuit Of My Happiness
I want to get out and be free,
But I'm afraid I will continue to smoke trees,
That is my struggle in life,
I want to feel lit,
I want to feel light,
Staying up this summer night,
But I don't want to wake up tomorrow,
In my bed of great sorrows,
I need to stay free,
I need my mom to say she loves me,
I want to see my newborn nephew,
When I get out, I don't want to live in a trailer,
Am I failure?

Entry #925
To Be Free
What I need to leave behind to be totally free:
I need to walk away from my other half
I need to separate myself from negative thoughts...

I'm going to walk away from the hurt & sorrow
Walk away from the struggle of being told I can't;
I need to form a positive state of mind

Soon to know that I am worth it
I won't be told every day that I deserve this lifestyle
Soon to know that someone really cares about me to treat me like I'm a person

To walk away from the scars and bruises
No more running away from fear everyday;
From my dogs attacking you because there protecting me;

Soon I will be away from you so I don't have to fear anymore;
Soon I will love myself more than I have ever loved you
Because now I know that I deserve better & no one knows my struggle,

In time there will be nothing but a constant reminder of you through the scars
that are left to show:
I will know that I can be my own person without you.
Entry #926
You did meth seven months along
Look at me now making dumb choices
I can't stay away from the bong
And it's all your fault I'm hearing voices
The doctor said you can't have a child
But when you did you kept tweaking
The shit I've been thru isn't mild
I've seen you O.D. Just another weekend
I got dealt a shitty hand and can't put it back
Look at you now your six feet in the dirt
Used to have boards broken over my back
Dad got clean while you sat on the couch hella burnt
Entry #927
Before I walk out
My dark thoughts must stay
Forever keeping me isolated
They must vanish away

When I walk out
My troubled self will become anew
It will be a resurrection
To the path of my ambition

After I walk out
The immaturity will be no more
My eyes will be clear
Preparation will be used
Memories will always
Be in the back of my conscience

Yet a glorious path will forever be shown  

Entry #928
The Amazing Feeling of Freedom
As I leave the walls of confinement I’m expected to fail. Nobody thinks I will succeed. But I have too. What kind of life do I want? If I don’t leave my old ways in the past then the forecast for my future is filled with pain and isolation. Is that what I really want? Maybe? No. I will change because once I leave this place I will remember again the amazing feeling of freedom. It tastes so sweet. It will motivate me…. I tell myself repeatedly.

Entry #929
For me to walk out of here and be truly be free I would have to leave behind my family, all the disappointments.  I will have to leave behind most of myself, most of the stuff that has made me who I am and it won't be easy but I have to, for me. Anger and violence have made my life miserable. I need to leave them behind though they have been with me since before I can remember. I have to forgive everyone, but still trust no one. I have to leave behind "try" and pick up "do". I have to leave behind excuses. I have to lift my chin up, get in my zone, and live, but not let life get to me. #Freedom

Entry #931
Looking for the Key
If you really knew me
You would know
I'm full of mistakes and failures
Where I didn't learn
Life became a struggle
That would imprison my self esteem
Like a caged bear
Looking for the key to freedom

If really knew me
You would understand
I strive to become someone
Our of poverty and depression
Trying to show those who resent
I can succeed in this lifetime

If you really knew me
You would know
The difficulty in my journey
To the peak of happiness
Accomplishing the first
Of my family tree

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