Juvenile In Justice, Richard Ross

2

BASICS: YES [Youth Emergency Shelter], Philadelphia, PA All youth referred by DHS. Serves 12-17 years old with board extension until 21. 30 day maximum stay; supposed to be temporary until permanent placement is found. DESCRIPTION: My father is Muslim. He lives in Northeast. I was living with my mom, grandmother, and 14-year-old little brother. My parents separated when I was younger. My mom kicked me out and put me on the streets when I was 15. She said you don't live here anymore. My mom was 33. That's when she started smoking wet—embalming fluid, dippers, cigarettes dipped in embalming fluid. She kept on getting more aggressive. It wasn't my mother; it was the dippers. My mom maced me before I came in the house. She came swinging at me. My little brother didn't know what it was about. That's when things started getting real sour. I remember worrying about what I was going to eat at the moment. I needed to rob somebody to get some money to eat. Then I saw a police officer, and he saw both the hostility and pain in my face. He brought me here; they gave me a bowl of cereal and somewhere to sleep. They set up a meeting with my mom and father. They helped me patch my relationship with my mom and father. They put me in youth sponsorship programs, leadership programs for African American males, called Frontline Dads, and programs like the Barbershop. There are places you can get things right. There are different places you can get help. Each one you can discuss things in different ways. At ball courts, if you show pain you get looked at differently. At the Barbershop you can let the pain out. It's like a symposium that’s community based. They helped me realize the deeper demons I had. Since 6th grade I was known as the dirty kid. I couldn't afford clothes. And lots of kids didn't want to be friends with me. I wanted to be nicely dressed so I started selling drugs to cloth me and put food in my mouth. I watched my mom sell drugs. Then my cousins. They were big time

2Juvenile In Justice is a project to document the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them.

Girls in Justice, the much-anticipated follow up

to Juvenile in Justice, turns our focus to girls in the system, and not a moment too soon. With a preface by Marian Wright Edelman and essays by Leslie Acoca, Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm, and Mariame Kaba, Maisha T. Winn.

Juvenile in Justice the book, with essays by Ira Glass of This American Life and Bart Lubow of Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Purchase Girls in Justice.

Purchase Juvenile in Justice (PDF).

The work has been published on CNN, SlateWired.comNPRPBS Newshour, ProPublica, and Harper’s Magazine, for which it was awarded the 2012 ASME Award for Best News and Documentary Photography. The project has been generously supported by grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.

Learn more about the project, view images by site, and follow the blog:
www.juvenile-in-justice.com

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