Who do you turn to?

Hi, my name is Billy and I am thirteen years old and already I have a problem with drugs. I hate my parents, my school, and my life in general. I feel like every one is out to get me and I have no one to turn to for help. I get in fights in school and scream at my parents for asking me to do chores or telling me to finish my homework. I got arrested yesterday and now I am sitting in a juvenile justice facility waiting for the judge to speak to me. This isn’t the first time it has happened, I have been in trouble a few times before but this time I think might be different, they had a counselor speak with me and I think I might be in real trouble this time.

They are coming to get me now; stupid cops are going to put me into handcuffs again. Here we go again, ride to the courthouse and listen to the judge bitch and moan about how I never learn and that I am on the road to becoming a convict and drain on society. Stupid hick cop listening to country music, stupid inbred fuck wouldn’t know cool if it bit him in the ass. Here we are, finally at the court house, there’s my dad’s car, and boy is he going to be pissed. Sure are a lot of kids here today, I am going to have to wait all day before I get to go home.

It’s been four and half hours now and I am finally getting to go in and see the judge, he doesn’t look happy to see me. There’s my dad, he doesn’t look happy either and I bet I will hear about how he had to miss work to be here on the way home. Strange, the judge isn’t yelling at me, I don’t understand what he is saying, habitual, what does that mean? He’s talking to my dad now, something about what’s best for me.

I don’t think I am going home. . .

I got checked in today, a boy’s camp and rehabilitation center, looks more like a jail to me. Could be worse I suppose, only six months and then I get to go home. I talked with my dad before they sent me here, he said this was for the best and that six months will go by fast and when I get home things will be better. I doubt it, but who knows, maybe things will be different.

Four months sure have gone by fast, not fast enough though; I don’t know how this place is supposed to help us. Their counseling is horrible and usually consists of screaming at us until we do what they say. Sometimes they even throw us on the ground and choke us if we don’t do what we are told fast enough. Oh well, two more months and I am out of here.

I got in trouble today, they said they found drugs in my bunk, they aren’t mine, I have never done cocaine. I asked them to test me, I said I had been clean; they refused and said that it wouldn’t prove anything anyways. They are restarting my time from the beginning; I am also being put into disciplinary ward for fourteen days. I can’t even call my dad to tell him what happened.

Six more months. . .

I got mad today and yelled at one of the guards, I told him to go fuck himself, it wasn’t the smartest thing I ever did but I was so mad because I shouldn’t even be here anymore! The guard broke my arm, I heard him talking to the doctor, he said I was fighting another kid and I fell and broke my arm, the nurse didn’t buy it but I don’t think the doctor really cared.

The nurse has come to see be a few times to check on my arm, she brought me some papers to fill out to file a complaint on the guy who broke my arm, I filled them out and she took them to the guy in charge.

My mom and dad came to see me today, I told them about everything and they said they believed me and my dad said he would talk to the administrators about it. He said he missed me and wanted me to come home soon; I just need to keep my temper in line and keep my nose clean. I can do this, I really miss parents and I really want a better life.

I can do this. . .

The nurse came by again today and checked my arm, she said it was healing nicely and that she gave my complaint to the administrator, the guard over heard us talking and made her leave rather quickly. At least I have one friend here.

A new nurse came to see me today, I asked her about the other lady and she said she left for other opportunities.

I have seen lots of boys come in and not too many get to leave on time, most have been here for years.

How long will I be here?

It’s been five years, I am eighteen now and I can’t seem to understand how I keep getting in trouble. No matter what I do my time keeps getting restarted, my parents hired an attorney the other day to try and help me get out of this place. I doubt it will work, it’s hopeless, and I will be here forever.

My life is over; all that is left is this place. . .

The foregoing story is fictional, the characters in it are not real, but the basis for the story is unfortunately very real. Children are being sent to rehabilitation centers and not getting released, you see, these are not jails and thus do not have to follow the same rules that a jail has to. They can start and stop their time as they see fit, it is common for a six month sentence to turn into years. Physical violence against the kids is also common, so common in fact that when a counselor abuses one of the kids, the others just turn around and stare off as if zombies.

Most of the children are written off as malcontents, bad kids or troublemakers who can’t follow the rules. The truth is, most of these kids had problems and needed help, and instead of getting the help they need they became a paycheck for some institution. Even if they follow all the rules, often times the guards will manufacture a problem or push a kid into a fight just to reset their sentence. If the parents start asking questions, then the facility does a mock investigation. They don’t care what really happened though, I have seen cases of having the guards spouse (who just so happens to be the investigator) doing the investigation.

So who do you turn to?