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!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Entry #
Entry # 1067
One Last Chance
I once was a happy little girl living on a farm with 10 acres of land with lots and lots to do. As soon as I moved to the city, I met new friends and my life turned around. I started ditching school every day to go get drunk and smoke week. Everyone started getting in more and more trouble with the police and started going to court and got put on probation. I started to do harder drugs and kept running away. I fell in love with meth and it completely ruined my life. I lost so many friends and my family began to not contact me. My mom got sick and I continued to act out because I was so selfish and just wanted to get high. I put myself in dangerous situations and witnessed things no teenage girl should ever have to go through. Now I am trying to stay away and now I am possibly going to a group home. I have apologized to everyone in my family and now they are slowly coming back into my life and I am happier than ever! I feel so much better now that I am sober. Going to this group home is going to give me one last chance to turn my life around and make my family as well as myself proud.

Entry #1068
Moving On
You took my heart with you when you went away. We were like two birds of a feather, I thought you were the one, but you took things into your own hands and left a solider behind. Well this trooper will move on, she's getting stronger as the seconds tick on. I sit here and throw pity parties all the time. Sorry you weren't invited. Kind of ironic when the star of the party doesn't show. I hate you. You're going to grow old alone. I want to say goodbye, I forgive you mister for all the time we spent together, Bonnie and Clyde... At least we didn't die. Clyde discharged three shells, Bonnie is moving on with her life. Goodbye to our miserable, overwhelming, ridiculous relationship. I'm not the one who wanted to say goodbye... All you had to do was drop me a few lines.

Entry #1069
On My Way Home
As life moves forward and days go on, I sit in my cell and try to stay strong, missing your touch and the way things used to be. What the hell happened between you and me? I forget about you daily but you always catch me in my dreams. I have to let go in order to grow. Once again back to my cell and going through hell. “S.R.” youth with no type of “T.R.s” 10 months down this just isn’t fun, but only 3 more to go and I’m on my way home.

Entry #1070
My Whole Life
In my generation everybody has a label. I am known as “The rich bitch,” “White girl,” “Snow bunny,” “Tweaker,” or “White trash”. People judge by what appears on the outside and by their assumptions. Most people who have labeled me those names never got to know me, the real me. They don’t know what I’ve been through or the struggle I have faced. They don’t know the demons I battle or the hell I’ve seen. Just because I am white doesn’t mean I have a perfect all-American family. They don’t know I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was ten. They don’t know my dad is an alcoholic who drinks himself away and lives a bachelor life as if he has no kids. They don’t know I’ve battled drug addiction for almost four years. They don’t know I was once pregnant and had no option but to abort. They don’t know I’ve lived almost seventeen years in fear and violence. They just don’t know. But yet, they sit there and judge me by what they see. If only they got the time to know me. But that might not be good either…I push people away when they get close. I’m scared to be hurt again or left behind like I don’t matter. I’m scared of a boy playing a good role only to get into my pants and leave. I’m scared of reaching out for help because I don’t want to be a burden. I’m scared of getting too close to someone only to be let down again. It’s not easy for me to trust. That’s why I like being independent, fending for myself and only having to be responsible for me. I know it’s not right. But I’ve been doing it almost my whole life.

Entry #1071
Lying To Myself
2015, what a year of disappointment to myself, my friends, and family. I haven’t gotten anywhere in this year or in the years before. Still in and out of juvy doing the same old thing: messing up. One thing after another, from drugs to friends to messing up on GPS. From DUI’s to resisting arrest.  Undoubtedly following my brothers footsteps, even when I’m trying to make parents proud…So called “trying,” obviously not trying hard enough. If I was I’d be graduated and off probation. I just have to grow up and get my stuff together. I would say this is my last time, but I could just be lying to myself so I aim to prove myself and my family wrong.

Entry #1072
Goodbye 2015
It is now 2016.  To 2015, I am saying goodbye *****.  Goodbye to being locked up.  Goodbye to being on the run even though some of it was fun.  I’d like to even say goodbye to this town.
I look forward to getting off probation.  I look forward to becoming an adult and having independence.  I will be on my own two feet, doing it myself with nobody to help.  I look forward to new relationships and to being clean…I am already 2 months clean.  It can all happen.  I will have to work for it, conceiving my goals.
Goodbye old times.
Goodbye to the females I thought were a good time.
Drugs and guns, ruining lives, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing.
I go day by day. I don’t listen to my loved ones.
I feel like they’re trying to tear me down.
I’m tearing myself to pieces.  Tearing myself apart.
Every time someone tells me to do something right, I do it wrong and end up back in the hall.

Entry #1073
Looking Back A Year
As I sit and ponder about the year of 2015 I feel disappointed in myself…
I take full responsibility for the negative things I did like; not going to school, disobeying my parents, getting incarcerated time after time, and a lot of other negative things.
I didn’t just let myself down, but my family too.
I ended 2015 in a cell and start my 2016 in the same place…
I’m going to spend half of this year incarcerated, so, I’m going to make the best out of my circumstances, thinking and learning what I can do to become a more responsible, better person to have an opposite year from 2015.

Entry #1074
3 Weeks
A trip that will turn my life around…17 hours in an airplane. Landed in Bangkok. Nothing like I expected. Cars in the opposite lane and no stop lights. Mopeds everywhere you go. Money all looks different. Huge malls, never ending stores, never stopping floors. Stayed in Bangkok 3 days. Got to ride an elephant with my dad. Went to a water market and road a boat for two hours. We did a little shopping on the boat. Next day, we drove 8 hours to Laos, to the boarder, then drove 3 more hours to my uncle’s house. Got to see my family that I never met before. There were so many cousins that I couldn't even count. I got to eat some bomb food. I practiced on a moped with my nephew. We went to the festival and it was so much fun. Kids gambling, playing balloon darts, bumper cars, rides, jump houses, and good food everywhere. We drove to see my aunt in the mountains too. Animals were everywhere. I even played a little soccer with the family. That was fun. Had a big feast with my family where all my family got together and I had to make a speech. We visited some tourist spots where you had to climb a huge mountain. Played some of their games. It was different from here, but really fun. I was taught how to make sticky rice, it was hard work. They had a special event where they fought bulls and bet money. It was exciting to see how it works. I did not want to leave at all. It felt like only a week but it was three. The hardest part was to say good bye to the family and a couple friends that I made there.

Entry #1075
Hi, and Goodbye…
When I reflect on 2015 I think of a whole year that flew by without recognizing where I was or where I should have been. I would like to say goodbye to that bewildered girl who was constantly dazed and confused. Damn, I was a mess. Every morning I welcome the beautiful day to the beautiful things I can provide. The thought of the day in Mr. F’s classroom is “No matter how you feel – get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.” This is the exact motto I would like to welcome into my life this year. Goodbye old tweaker friends. Hello estranged family. Goodbye grungy girl that I never knew. I never want to see you again. Welcome lost hopes and dreams! It’s easy to picture myself going to college and getting degrees in psychology now that I’m clean. I welcome myself to the world this 2016!

Entry #1076
My Tomorrow
Good-bye old “friends”
Goodbye to the drugs too
I’m not too sorry this must come to an end
My life will be better now
Without you around
I was told “stay away”
But I blocked all those sounds.
Now I know better, and so do you
Please stay away, so my tomorrow
Can be successful too

Entry #1077
From the Heart
The things I look forward on leaving behind in 2015 are all my past mistakes, and the place I never wanted to spend half my holidays, my birthday, my daughter’s and my mom’s birthday in…“Juvenile Hall.” Also, I plan on leaving behind the pretenders in my life, the ones who claim to hold me down when I’m in the drought and are nowhere to be found when I’m down and out. The things I look forward to in 2016, is just a new beginning, a better life for not only me but for my mom and my daughter. I want to be able to give and do the things I never had the chance to do with my dad. Not too many things excite me, but one thing I do look forward to in the future is being with my daughter being able to be there every step of the way as she gets older. Also I plan on going to college or at least getting a job. Mostly I just look forward to a better life when I get out, a fresh start.

Entry #1078
I’m Sorry
My life is that of a warrior fighting a constant battle, for reasons I sometimes don’t know.
Oh, how I would love to find peace, but I can’t.
Why? I don’t know.
So I guess I’ll keep on fighting.
My struggle is intense; I open my eyes and give praise for another day.
But why?  Isn’t this day one just waiting to be filled with struggle?
Isn’t this the day someone will lose a brother, sister, mother, or father?
Confusion, negativity, deceit, injustice…Release me please! God release me!
What do I need to do?  I’ll do it.
Just please don’t lock the door and lose the key forever.
Please don’t shackle me up behind my back for so long my shoulders ache.
Please don’t let a tear drop from the pain, from the decisions made in the courtroom.
The system is too overloaded to see me as an individual.
Maybe you will let me speak my piece, then, you can see.
We have no time come back in two weeks!
“You have nothing to say, no explanation, this type of behavior is not acceptable,
Lock him up!”
I just beg and plead,
I’ll be good!
I promise!
I’ll be good!
I promise!

Entry #1079
Not My Destiny
Good bye 2015, hello 2016... 2015 has really been a struggle for me: in and out of Juvie. Almost knowing that it's just a matter of time before I go to prison to fulfill my father’s destiny. No longer will that life be for me, no more Juvie and no more misery. I now hold the key to my own destiny. Living life in 2015 was full of depressing people, barbed wire, white walls, long halls, and locked doors. Out with the old in with the new. Bring it on 2016 let's see what mysteries you will bring to me. I’ll soon be out of here and when I am, I know that that is when my knew life will begin. My misery turned into joy. My life was a crumpled up puzzle and I am now putting together the pieces. 

Entry #1080
Change of Life
I would like to forget about 2015 because I was locked up for the last half of 2014 & almost all of 2015. If I could go back I would go back to change what I did to get 16 months. I think my usual round of negative self thoughts, but I can't go back to change what I did so I'm going to move forward and change what I do. I need to think fast because if I don't I can do up to 6 years in prison. I have one more chance to go home and do right. I need to prove people wrong and think to myself, “I can do this.” I am being told every day that I can't do this that I'm a **** up. They’re wrong. Everybody makes mistakes, but it's just how I change what I did, to what I do. It's time to think to myself what did I do to get myself into this situation and what do I need to do to get myself out? It's time to change the people I hang with and what I do.  

Entry #1081
That Way
I hate waking up from a dream of being home, just to find that I’m so alone.
I just want to feel like I’m not alone, but I know deep down it’s always been that way.
I’ve always been alone.
I hate that I have to suffer someone else’s pain because they can’t handle it on their own.
I hate feeling the pain that I did not condone.
So I will say goodbye to it all. I’ll no longer suffer the life that is not my own.
I’ll accept that I can’t change the past, but ill also a future that goes forward and never back to the past.
So goodbye 2015 you are history! And I am welcoming the new year of 2016.
Entry #1082
This Is The Year
In 2016 I'm looking forward to finishing high school once and for all. I'm looking forward to getting a job, and being able to support myself. I'm looking forward to doing the right things and staying out of trouble. My new year’s resolution was to really commit to school. I've been doing everything I can, such as focus while class is in session, bringing my work to my cell at any time possible, and keeping a positive mindset through it all. This goal is important to me because I need to matter! For me someone who matters doesn't do dumb shit and get locked up constantly. 2016 is going to rock for me because this is the year I change myself for the better. This is the year I really try my hardest at all times to make something out of myself. This is the year I succeed!

Entry #1083
What I'm looking forward to for 2016?
~I'm going to graduate high school.
~Will have a job.
~Start college.
~Work on getting my license.
~Get out of juvenile hall.
~And the best part is that I will be off probation.
What I left behind in 2015? All the people who affected me in a negative way. I left behind all the negative behavior and stupid decisions. I'm done feeling like a disappointment or not good enough. I'm done with the people who just sit around and get high all day. I'm about to be an adult and I need to start acting like one because I refuse to be a failure all my life! It's time to show myself and others that I'm good enough and that even through all the mistakes I made I still can succeed!             

Entry #1084
Damaged but do-able.
Redeemed while sitting all alone.
Eagerly waiting to be accomplished even if there is no hope.
Assumed not to be reached, because you can no longer cope.
Maybe I won’t reach my dreams or goals, but I will never give up all hope.

Entry #1085
Gritted Teeth
Wishing upon a star, too far for me to grab; praying upon a God who hears but does not answer. Waiting for the impossible to happen and hoping it happens fast.
It's a constant reminder of where I was. Naked white walls, a steel blue door with a 2 ft long slit window, and a concrete slab I call a bed. I'm thrown into a darkness I can't escape, a chasm which has no end or beginning to the fall I'm taking. I walked into a trap and this time there's no way out. I close my eyes aware of the pitch black darkness surrounding me, and I fear for what's going to happen next....nothing......silence, and then I hear the faint scream of my name, pleading to wake up. The voice is so beautiful and soothing, I open my eyes and see my mother holding my hand, eyes puffy from crying. I look down and have an I.V.  sticking out of my arm. I don't remember anything, so I ask my mom questions through gritted teeth and lonely tears. She told me I OD’d, hit my head losing 5 months of my past memories, and then I'm out again. Darkness wins. Darkness always wins.

Entry #1086
Saying goodbye is the worst.
It’s the end of everything.
But if I think about it hard enough,
Did it ever really start?
I’m not even sure how to say it.
How can I say it to someone who means the world to me?
I can’t.
I just can’t.
That word alone has so much power.
A simple seven letter word,
Can break my heart,
And turn me cold.

Entry #1087
I want to wallow in my pit of despair
Why am I still stuck here? Life isn’t fair
I can’t do this anymore! I want to go home.
Hold my head up, chest out, and stay strong
This is a small bump in a very long road
I can do it, I can do it, I’m almost home
Think of my family, think of my friends
I can taste the freedom from closed doors
Mom’s calling my name. I answer her call
Five more months and I get to leave the hall.

Entry #1088
Dear Mom,
I am not too sure how to say this to you right now. But I am going to leave some stuff behind of my personal things. My girlfriend and I are moving away, Mother. My reason why is very hard to say. I have cancer that’s why I am going away. So I will be leaving one of my cars behind for you. I will also be leaving my house behind too. I know it’s not much.  I left some stuff behind in the house too. I did not take very much with me. But I wanted it to go to my mother when I left. So please take care of my house which is now yours. I love my mother very much. Take care of yourself Mom. Good-bye.

Entry #1089
Mama’s House
Mama’s house the place where I learned a man doesn’t love his kids and spouse.
Mama’s house where I learned you don’t always have a dad because he’s stuck on doing drugs and being bad.
Mama’s house where no one hears your screams.
Mama’s house where no one seems to sleep.

Mama’s house where I learned people really change.

Mama’s house were daddy is now full of love.
Mama’s house I miss the warm hugs.
Take me back to mamas house where I grew up.

Entry #1090
Goodbye to 2015,
Hello to 2016,
Goodbye to sixteen,
Hello to seventeen,
On to new memories,
Hopefully more good than bad,
On to senior year,
Proms, late nights, and graduation,
To throwing my cap in the air,
Goodbye to smelly P.E. class,
Goodbye to high school,
Hello to beauty school,
To buying a car,
And vacations to Pismo Beach,
Leaving home and spreading my wings,
Getting a place of my own,
Goodbye to the no pets” rule,
Hello to a little puppy,
Goodbye to the old me,
Hello to the new me,
Middle finger as I say goodbye to the system and juvie,
Hello to being free at last,
Goodbye to the past,
Hello to the freaking future!

Entry #1091
Probably Not
In 2015 I did pretty much whatever I wanted, which wasn’t the best idea. I realize now that I should have listened to my sister when she tried to help me, but my anger kept me dwelling on the past and all the negative things that had happened in my life. I felt like nothing positive ever came my way. I know now that I’m blessed for every moment of life I’ve lived. My plan for 2016 is to keep my head up and keep pushing forward even with obstacles in my way. Although I know that as soon as I’m out, I’m probably not going to remain sober. I know that it’s what I want to do. I plan on not going out and drinking so much, and not letting drugs control me the way they did last year. I realize that we all have choices and I chose wrong, but this is a new year and a new set of choices. I’m gonna choose wisely to keep myself out of the hall and make my sister proud in 2016.

Entry #1092
Goodbye liar, Goodbye stealer, Goodbye runaway thoughts, Goodbye Jail/juvie person, Goodbye troublemaker! From 2015 I will never look back at the horrid things I did to people and to my family. To be honest, I don’t know if I can change myself into a good girl like I was when I was 8 years old. I believe that I will still struggle from not running away, but at the same time, I’m happy because it’s not going to be that way anymore. I’m almost 18 years old. That is when I can start a new life and since it is 2016, it’s time to say goodbye to 2015 and say hello to the new me. I can’t wait to make my parents proud. It’s going to be an awesome time. I am preparing for adulthood. So I might stay away from drugs or any other trouble. I’m not ready to start 18 in jail.  I will try to find a place to stay because I won’t be able to live with my parents, but I can change the way I act around my mom and dad. Maybe they changed themselves as well since it’s a new year. I won’t run or do anything stupid. I want to realize the world works when you stay out of trouble, which is going to be the hard part of communicating with my parents. They won’t like the way I used to be. I don’t want to talk with the police anymore. I believe I can start with getting a job then going to school.

Entry #1093
Welcome 2016
The things I want to say goodbye to 2015 is me arguing and being rude, disrespecting the people I love and trust. I was stealing, lying, running away, and fighting. I wasn’t going to school regularly. I was hanging out with people that would always bring negative stuff in my life. That won`t get me to my goals. My other downfalls that I want to leave behind are me smoking, partying, and coming home any hours of the night. Now, the things I’m willing to do in 2016 is accepting Jesus Christ in my life and leaving old stuff in the past. My other goals are to help my family out with whatever we need done to make us a better family. My life in   2016 will show my love, joy, peace, and happiness. My new life in 2016 is me going to my grade school without getting held back. My dreams are to me graduating high school. I will bring my grades up. When I see myself in ten years from now I’m done with high school, graduated from college, and a firefighter with a family of four with a nice hardworking husband. I got my four dream cars with a house that I always wanted. I will help my other siblings complete their goals and dreams in life.

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