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Jan 30, 2008

Locked Up at Age 10, No One Had Time for Me

Youth First Person, J.T.,
Pacific News Service, Mar 17, 2004

Editor's Note: A young man who was sent to the troubled California Youth Authority corrections system at age 10 tells his story.

My father has been in and out of prison the 17 years I've been alive, so, I really didn't have a father. My mother was a mother, but at the same time she didn't have the time to give me the time I needed. There are seven all together. My twin brother and me are the youngest. She was raising us and she was working, so she really didn't have the time.

She would come home and be exhausted, she would cook for us, but she really didn't have the time.

JuvenileWhen I was sentenced [to the California Youth Authority] at the age of 10, I was gang banging and I was fighting. I had a lot of anger, a lot of rage, a lot of pain. I didn't know how to deal with it, so I expressed it through acting out violently, by fighting, by just doing stupid things. I went into the Youth Authority with a year to two years, and I ended up catching five years because of getting in fights and rebelling against the staff.

When they put me in YA, they didn't sit down with me and say, 'We're feeling what you're going through, we want to help you.' It wasn't like that. What they did was lock me up, throw me in the cage, take me to the psychologist, he diagnosed me as crazy, and they gave me drugs. That was the solution.

I was a little kid. I didn't know anything, and there wasn't anybody there that cared for me enough to look beyond my faults and see my needs, and guide me and lead me in the right direction.

The purpose of YA is to rehabilitate you. But they didn't rehabilitate me, and they don't rehabilitate other people. There are people who work for YA that are more criminally minded than the young people in there. You've got staff sleeping with wards, you've got staff secretively bringing drugs for wards. Some staff would beat up wards.

When you are in that predicament it seems hopeless. There was a sense of hopelessness in everybody. Everybody was gang banging. You're in an atmosphere where you have to protect yourself, where you had to become somebody that you weren't.

It was only through the grace of God that I survived. It was God that was protecting me while I was in there, because I've seen people get raped in there, I know people that died in there, I know people that got shanked (cut or stabbed) in there. I got shanked, too.

You know why a lot of young people commit crimes? Because they're seeking attention. They want somebody to recognize them. If they have nobody recognizing them for the good things they do, then they'll do negative stuff.

I changed, not because they helped me to change, but because I took it upon myself to change. The environment I lived in was a hindrance to me changing. It was an environment to keep me in bondage.

I should have never gone to YA in the first place. I was supposed to go to the Nevada Boys Ranch, and they turned around and said it cost more to send me there than to the California Youth Authority. My mother didn't understand law, didn't understand the court system. I had a public defender, but most public defenders work with the DA. They're wolves in sheep's clothing.

I'm in school right now. After I graduate from high school, I have some scholarships to go to Morehouse College or Howard University or another college. I want to get a degree in the ministry, in theology. I want to get a degree in business, entrepreneurship, psychology and a few other fields. I'm going to become a preacher, and I'm going to create businesses. I'm going to write books. I'm going to be speaking, I know that.

I have plans to create a faith-based organization that works with young people in prison and with people in prison in general. When a young person has faith, he begins to have value and worth and self-dignity. He gets to believe in himself. I don't believe a person can be whole without being connected to God. God is the Source, God is the Creator, and if the creation doesn't have a relationship with the Creator than he can't be what he has got to be.

I had no positive men, men of character in my life, men to lead by example, responsible men. If I had had men in my life to give me that discipline, to just be there, I think I would not have done the things that I did. The only reason I did the things that I did was because I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be accepted.

What would have helped me would have been for people to really express their concern, to care about me, to sit down and talk to me to really befriend me, show me that I'm not just a criminal. I made a mistake, but I can change. I can have another chance. I can be a better person.

Released almost two years ago, J.T. is involved in a local ministry and lives with the pastor and deacon of his church in Stockton, Calif. He told his story to Brahmani Houston (, a contributing writer and employee of Pacific News Service.
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Posted: Jan 30, 2008 12:05am
Jan 29, 2008

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Posted: Jan 29, 2008 10:18pm
Jan 29, 2008
Focus: Children
Action Request: Petition
Location: California, United States

"San Diego Juveniles Exposed to Feces and Urine"!

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, San Diego County
There are many children incarcerated in the juvenile justice system here in San Diego. Some facilities share a restroom, and few have toilets in their rooms. Toilets carry many germs and sometimes can evolve into a serious bacteria, that can cause a great sickness amongst the children who are exposed. As you can see in the photo, the toilet sits approx. 2 ft. away from
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Posted: Jan 29, 2008 10:14pm
Jan 23, 2008
Alert: San Diego Juvenile Justice  
Action Request:Petition
Location:California, United States
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Posted: Jan 20, 2008 12:31am | comment (1) | discuss (0) | permalink | edit | delete
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Tags: change   justice   reform   juvenile  
Blog: San Diego Juvenile Justice

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Posted: Jan 23, 2008 8:02pm
Jan 21, 2008
"Needs Change and Reform"
Juvenile Court and Facility are using kids as acommodity to make money for the County by recycling them through the syst more»
signed: 779
goal: 1,000

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Posted: Jan 21, 2008 2:43am
Oct 1, 2007

 Petition May Be Found Here:

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Posted: Oct 1, 2007 9:00pm
Jul 15, 2007
Showing Type: All Types Alerts Blogs Top 10 List Recipes Tributes Polls Messages Photo Albums Tag Filter: no filter Mary's Tags: senator judges politics! injusticewashington health juvenile children moreĽ Subscribe to Mary's public shares Alert: URGENT! F.A.C.C. NEEDS YOUR HELP! Focus: Civil Rights Action Request: Write E-Mail Location: California, United States "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO CORY" Cory is 16 and was placed into juvenile hall in Kearny Mesa CA 92101. On January 28th he went to court and Judge Devaney in Department 6, decided that he would like Cory to be placed back into the hall until a psychological evaluation could be done. On February 28th, 2007 he went back to the court to get the decision on placement . The judge was busy and so his mom was asked to go to department 6 before judge Meza. Mom was not told she had the right to make a decision to wait and procede in Department 6. Present in courtroom six was Cory, Corys attorney appointed by the court Mr. Rubin, Cory's mom, and probation. Dr. Thomas Barnes a forensics juvenile psychologist, made an inaccurate evaluation on Cory and gave that report to the screening panel in the probation department. Probation gave that report to the judge. The DA who was Nancy Truitt fabricated some issues concerning an issue of mom getting her son out of an residential treatment plan then! NO relevance to the reason we were there. The attorney and mom both agreed with Cory that placement into the drug dorm in the Rancho Del Campo facility would be appropriate. The DA said they weren't in a trial, and the judge got angry and said she was going to go along with probation officers decision to place him into a residential facility. The judge never even bothered to look at a two page letter that Cory's own physician wrote to the court. Cory has severe ADHD Bipolar disorder and has been treated since 1st grade. Dr. Barnes report was totally different! It was lunch hour and the judge was in a hurry to leave! The judge said her decision was final. The attorney and I both along with Cory and mom told the judge that the court was setting him up for failure. The judge did not listen to a word anyone was saying. We left and Mom had to get another hearing on her own. On May 1st we were given another hearing because I sent in a form requesting it from the presiding judge. I had asked for a new judge and a new DA. That request was not met and we were sent back to Judge Meza. The judge did not even let us speak! It was a mere two minutes and nothing was changed! Cory was placed into Kelly Residential Facility in El Centro California, about 160 miles from their home in Lakeside CA. The facility has NO exercise program for the kids, and Cory has gained 52 pounds and now at almost 200 pounds. This is very dangerous for him because in the past he's had trouble with high blood pressure! They do not monitor him for that. This center is supposed to be a drug rehab, but is only a locked facility. They have nothing for the boys to do except sit, eat and sleep. They get home passes every other weekend. Cory went home once. It has been over a month of denied home passes. I get calls from Cory in a distraught , depressive state, suggesting he has been abused by staff. On Saturday June 30th another call from him saying he was almost hit by the staff there twice! They suggested that if I complained about the facility one more time he would get terminated and then may get placed farther away from home, such as Fresno or Sacramento CA. Cory was very depressed and crying hysterically, saying"I want to go home"! I tried to get him to calm down so I could speak with him. Then he had to hang up. I was very worried and called the El Centro Sheriffs Department to do a welfare check to make sure things were o.k. . The Sheriffs did go there, but I got no report back. Sunday July 1st, 2007 I received a call from Cory in the afternoon. Cory said he was ok, and I told him we were trying to get him home, but that the court had not yet gotten back with me or the attorney. At approximately 4:00pm I got a call from the mom saying that Cory and another boy AWOL'ed from the facility and that the Sheriffs were looking for him. Worried and didn't know why he did it, or what to think, other than we had told the court this may happen. They didn't listen to us, and mom signed NO paperwork for the facility! Mom made stipulations concerning his medications, psychiatrist and physician, must remain the same. They changed them and his medications were upped to high! Now Cory was over medicated and not monitored for his blood pressure, putting him into jeopardy. Then on Monday morning after speaking with Cory's probation officer the U.S. Marshalls and probation went to search Corys house with NO warrant, just a fourth waiver! They didn't knock at the door, but asked the manager of the apartments to unlock the door. The manager didn't unlock the door, but knocked and then the Marshalls just walked intoC orys home. Mom had just come back into the house and did not know Cory and his friend were hiding in the bathroom. The marshalls had a picture of the other boy, but they let him go. Cory was arrested and placed back into juvenile hall in Kearny Mesa CA. This Thursday on July 5th, 2007he has to be in court. I am so tired of them locking kids up for stupid petty stuff. Every time its a violation of probation, for curfew, school, which once he was out of school with pneumonia and he was arrested! It's never going to stop! May be retaliation to my organization trying to get change and reform for the system! The BIG thing for the juvenile justice system is to place as many kids into the residential treatment facilities that they can. The county does nothing about these issues! Why? They are making money off of recycling kids like Cory! I don't know what you can do to help us to get Cory home, but I would appreciate an investigation into all the corruption that has happened here! I will also send a copy of this letter to the Grand Jury.Last night on July 3rd, Cory placed a blanket over his window, the staff came in and pepper sprayed him and made him sleep with no pillow or blankets! Cory's mom is very upset with the whole system and what they have done to her son! She asks that each and everyone of you who read this sign the petitions and e-mail a letter to the chief of probation ASAP! Thank you all for helping this sad situation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- See what's free at Posted: Thursday July 12, 2007, 1:46 am Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Jul 15, 2007 11:14pm


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Mary Woodward
, 1, 1 child
Lakeside, CA, USA
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