Prison Kids Juvenile Justice in America Full Documentary

Last August, American cities erupted in protest after Michael Brown, just 18 years old, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. For the first time in decades there’s a national discussion about how just our criminal justice system is. Police shooting and prison reform are finally topics of Presidential debates. But what gets little attention is what we’re doing to our youngest citizens: our children. The U.S locks up more children than any other developed country by far. It’s time we talked about this. In the documentary you are about to see Prison Kids, You’ll meet young people who’s lives were torn apart by our juvenile justice system. Kids who needed help but instead were locked up. And you’ll meet those fighting everyday to turn it around. To stop the criminalization of childhood in America. If a society is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable citizens, are we ready for judgement day?>>[Savannah]: I hate being inside a cell. [Male voice] Got your little window to look outside and that’s really it. [Male voice] You feel claustrophobic. [Male voice] It was cold too. I was freezing. [Male voice] And Id be getting overwhelmed and heated about it. [Male voice] I was fed up, like I’m tired of being in this cell. *Voices overlapping* [Male voice] It was horrible. Worst time of my life. It was nerve-racking. I was losing it. I was freaked out. Yea I was young. I was young in there.>>[Aisha]: C’mon get up. I worry. I worry a lot that he will end up in jail. It’s so easy to end up in jail here, and for whatever reason. “C’mon baby time to go to school.” “C’mon.”>>[Narrator]: Aisha’s son Zion is 7 years old. “Open. Open”>>[Aisha]: If he gets into an altercation or he does something that they think is punishable, definitely. I worry a lot. “Zion are you going to behave today?”>>[Zion]: Yea.>>[Aisha]: “You gunna do all your work?”>>[Zion]: Ok.>>[Aisha]: You promise me?>>[Zion]: Yea.>>[Aisha]: Please you have to learn.>>[Narrator]: Zion lives in Broward County, Florida. School has never been easy for him.>>[Aisha]: A referral is when you get written up and it goes in your permanent record. I think right now Zion has over…over 40 definitely. In one year he had over 25 and I think that was in first grade. He kept getting suspended. One day here one day there. I had to leave my work two or three times a week.>>[Narrator]: Zion struggles with ADHD and anxiety which makes it hard for him to sit through a full school day.>>[Zion]: It will be like…it will be bad And it will be hard to calm me down.>>[Aisha]: Now how did that make you feel?>>[Zion]: Frustrated and bad.>>[Aisha]: Yeah? So I’m looking at his file right now. There’s so many I mean I’m going through this and I don’t even know where to start because theres just so many. Behavioral concerns may result in exclusion from participation in activities. Unruly play. This one was the big one. Battery on a district employee. He just had a major anxiety attack. He threw his desk. He threw everything he could find. Books whatever her was uncomtrollable. He was crying and crying. The teacher went to try and hold him down and she got kicked. They called me and said, “The police is here. You need to come right away again.” The police officer said, “Look I dont know if the teacher wants to press charges. I mean she could because she is under her right to press charges.” I felt like okay what are they going to do? Is he going to go to jail Is he gunna go to juvenile? Are they gunna handcuff him I means, he’s 7 he’s a baby. He’s my baby.>>[Narrator]: At 7 years old, Zion could legally be arrested for battery in Florida. It’s one of 33 states where there is no minimum age to charge a child with a crime. The U.S. incarcerates more children than any other developed country. 54,000 on any given night. Americans pay $8 Billion a year to incarcerate kids but thats only part of the cost.>>[Male Officer]: “You can do what we’ve asked you to or you can suffer the consequences.”>>[Child crying]: “Ow that hurts!”>>[Narrator]: In the last year you’ve seen small glimpses of what some call the criminalization of childhood. The handcuffing of a third grader in a Kentucky classroom. The suicide of Kalief Browder who was featured in the New Yorker. At 16 he was sent to jail for 3 years without ever being convicted of a crime. The violent confrontation between police and teenagers at a neighborhood pool party in Texas.>>[Male Officer]: On your face! To many Americans it’s shocking but it’s a system we created and it’s destroying lives.>>[Glenn]: We can really mess a kid up. We can create problems that did not exist. And then we turn them loose. We in essence created a criminal.>>[Narrator]: The vast majority of kids in juvenile jail don’t commit a violent crime. In fact, many are locked up for things that aren’t even crimes for adults. Skipping school, running away from home or missing curfew. Even those accused of more serious crimes are still children.>>[Savannah]: I could never imagine my life if I hadn’t been incarcerated as a kid.>>[Narrator]: Savannah first went to juvenile prison in Ohio when she was 14.>>[Savannah]: Yeah I was young when I was in there. I really grew up in there.>>[Narrator]: This is her in 2009.>>[Savannah]: I definitely feel sad about missing out on like school, games, stuff like that. You know being able to create memories for my family. My mom tell me sometimes that I robbed her of the chance of raising me.>>[Narrator]: Ohio’s juvenile prison is run by The Department of Youth Services where some of the bleakest places to be a kid locked up in America.>>[Savannah]: I saw like a lot of girls cutting and trying to commit suicide very very depressed girls and stuff like that in there. That was something I had never you know experienced before.>>[Narrator]: Savannah’s experience can be traced to what was happening in the country when she was just an infant.>>[Reporter]: In California three children all under the age of 10 were arrested this week after the near fatal beating of an infant.>>[Reporter]: In Chicago, a 10 and 11 year old drop a 5 year old from a high-rise to his death. Another 14 year old, arrested for gang rape.>>[Narrator]: In the mid 90’s America became terrified of a new brand of child criminal.>>[Male Voice]: Super predators come in every race, creed and zip code. They have literally no concept of the future either their own or anyone else’s.>>[Reporter]: Today they’re just children but will they be predators tomorrow?>>[Narrator]: The country went into a panic and lawmakers responded with what seemed like a simple solution, lock them up.>>There are no violent offenses that are juvenile. You rape somebody, you’re an adult. You shoot somebody, you’re an adult.>>[Clinton]: I’m directing the FBI and other investigative agencies to target gangs that involve juveniles and violent crime. And to seek authorities to prosecute as adults teenagers who maim and kill like adults.>>[Narrator]: The number of kids locked up in America peaked in the year 2000. Hitting 109,000 kids.>>We can expect crime waves of juvenile violence over the next 10 years.>>[Narrator]: But the predictions were wrong. There were no super predators. In fact, juvenile violent crime rates dropped. And the number of kids in juvenile facilities went down too. Still, the U.S. incarcerates children at a higher rate than anyone else. Those kids are usually black or brown. Most struggle with mental illness.>>[Zion]: It tickles in there.>>[Narrator]: This weighs on Zion’s mom Aisha.>>[Aisha]: That fear is still in me. That he’ll be arrested. That he won’t finish school.>>[Zion]: Hey look at this.>>[Aisha]: When you’re a mom, you’re so ambitious towards your kid you want them to be better than you were. That’s all ask. But I’m scared.>>Alright there you go.>>[Narrator]: Savannah is 22 years old. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.>>[Savannah]: I started to get in trouble around the age of like 12. I really didn’t like being at home that much. I had a lot of responsibilities. My mom worked a lot. She was a single mom. So I just…it was better to be worried about myself and be on my own.>>[Narrator]: At 14, Savannah was locked up in one of Ohio’s juvenile prisons run by the Department of Youth Services or DYS.>>[Savannah]: Well I never fought as much until I got to DYS. I never really had conflicts with other people in school that much. I got into fights here and there but not as much. Sometimes like I get anxiety and that would be a way of releasing it. Like I would just throw stuff or yell or do something and that would carry on to something else and something else and lead to a fight.>>[Narrator]: When Savannah fought, she says she was placed in solitary confinement. 23 hours straight in a cell. If she followed the rules, Savannah could earn time outside. Some consider solitary confinement torture. The state called it a Special Management Plan meant to make her a better inmate. Instead of helping, Savannah says it made her worse.>>[Savannah]: Sometimes I would work the plan and then maybe something might upset me or something and I’ll just ruin the whole thing. The isolation kinda sometimes made me feel crazy. To be in a cell for 23 hours is definitely like you know count bricks. It’s not really too much you can do. I remember one time somebody slipped me a marker. I drew on every inch of my wall. Like every inch of my wall was covered in something It kinda tests your mental state and sometimes you might find yourself talking to yourself or something. Just trying to pass time or anything you know find anything to do in there.>>[Allen]: A lot of people speak about the projects they think of like the place you wouldn’t want to be. That’s how they make it seem like something wrong with it. Aint nothing wrong with the projects tho I love the projects. I feel like it made me who I am. Want me to show you where my momma stay at?>>Yeah>>Keep straight.>>[Narrator]: Allen grew up in Cleveland. He spent more than two years in Ohio juvenile prison.>>[Allen]: I used to stay at this house right here. That used to be my window right there I used to jump out that window when I’m on punishment. She don’t let me out the house I hang drop and I’ll run over there. Run through there.>>I don’t know.>>[Narrator]: Allen was also held in solitary confinement when he went to kid prison at age 15. I used to pace a lot. Pace back and forth. Looking out the outside window just looking back and forth pacing.>>[Narrator]: When he was incarcerated, Allen was diagnosed with a mood disorder and severe ADHD. He struggled to control his behavior.>>[Dr. Grassian]: Once a prisoner gets into solitary confinement usually because of impulsive emotionally volitile kind of behavior, once they get in, they get worse. And then they never get out. And that’s what happens to a lot of these kids.>>[Narrator]: Dr. Stuart Grassian has studied the impact of solitary confinement on inmates for three decades.>>[Dr. Grassian]: Instead of understanding what was going on with these kids they were punished, put in solitary confinement. And from everything we know from working with adults and these juveniles putting these people in solitary confinement is gunna make them worse.>>[Narrator]: Grassian examined files of several kids held in solitary confinement in Ohio juvenile prison. He found all had mental health issues.>>[Male voice on TV]: But if you’re caught you’re arrested…>>[Narrator]: The juvenile justice system was created more than 100 years ago, with the idea that kids aren’t fully developed and they have the potential to change if they are given the opportunity.>>I don’t believe you’re really a bad boy. And I’m not going to send you away this time.>>[Elijah Williams]: The purpose of the adult system was to punish the offender. In juvenile, the objective and the statute is to rehabilitate the child and turn the child around. And I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a lot easier to punish a person than to try and turn a child around.>>[Narrator]: Just like in other parts of the country there was more punishment than rehabilitation in Ohio.>>[Dr. Grassian]: Sadly what develops in places like this is a very kind of cynical kind of cruel attitude towards the kids.>>[Narrator]: In 2011, the year Allen got arrested, kids in Ohio Juvinile prison spent 229,000 hours in isolation. Thats an average of 306 hours per kid that year. The more time Allen spent inside the worse his behavior got.>>[Allen]: It just made me more aggressive. It made me more on the edge. I was always mad like…upset…like frustrated. I felt like the whole little program and all that only made us worse. That’s all it did, it only made us worse.>>[Narrator]: Allen says he never took psychotropic drugs until he was on trial in juvenile jail.>>[Allen]: I used to just be up all the time all night, couldn’t sleep, thinking. That’s when they first introduced me to Seroquel. They said, “This will help you sleep.”>>[Narrator]: Seroquel is a powerful antipsychotic drug. When Allen was sent to kid prison the state continued to prescribe it. Sometimes at the maximum dose.>>[Allen]: I used to be like stuck. For real, I would take my Seroquel and just be like stuck. Just staring out in space or something. You really can’t even move.>>[Narrator]: Documents reveal that on one of the days that Allen was incarcerated, 92% of the kids locked up with him were on psychotropic drugs. The medication and solitary confinement were dangerous combinations.>>[Dr. Grassian]: If you do this to an adolescent for a long period of time there’s significant evidence here, you’re altering brain functioning and brain development.>>[Cory Booker]: We engage in practices in prisons and jails that actually make people far more dangerous.>>[Narrator]: U.S. Senator Cory Booker has introduced legislation that would ban the use of solitary confinement for juveniles.>>[Cory Booker]: We routinely in this country put children in solitary confinement. Which has a traumatizing impact on that child’s emotional and mental health. In fact 60% of the kids that are committing suicide in prisons are ones that have been put into solitary confinement. Other countries consider the practice torture, but we do it with regularity.>>[Narrator]: In just one year, Allen spent 313 days in solitary confinement.>>[Dr. Grassian]: You know, and one of the really sad things about it is that if you looked at those charts a lot of those kids entered the system hopeful that the system could help them. They’ve been given a tremendous burden and impairment. And I think it’s exceedingly difficult to overcome that. You know the generation of kids who went through those kind of systems, you know it’s tragic. Uh, you know I…all we can do is just pray for them.>>[Savannah]: I’m going to a new school when I get home. I’m gunna be entering the 10th grade. Probably stay at that school, graduate from that school. If everything goes okay. Because I’ve already got my mind set is what I want to do. I want to go farther in life. I had plans before. Those plans didn’t work out. And it’s really like I haven’t planned nothing else. It’s not really about dreaming no more.>>[Zion]: Ow!>>[Aisha]: When he was about three and a half, they said that he was behind in his speech.>>[Zion]: I’m a soccer genius!>>[Aisha]: At first he could not articulate very well. He felt very anxious about learning. He just couldn’t stay still.>>[Narrator]: Aisha says that by age 5, Zion had been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and depression.>>[Aisha]: We entered him into therapy and at first it was kinda helping him with the coping skills but it just stopped. He just…it just wasn’t helping him anymore. Here’s your other medication.>>[Narrator]: So, Aisha says, Zion started taking medicine.>>[Aisha]: First we had Risperdal. Risperdal seemed to work a little. But then he gained 30 pounds. They gave him adderall. He became a monster with adderall. He was on Focalin. It was so hard because when you’re giving him Focalin you know you’re giving him cocaine. And he was allergic to that. He ended up in the hospital. And then he was fine but you couldn’t give it to him. How can you give a pill to a 6 year old? What happens when he’s 20, 25?>>[Narrator]: Students with disabilities represent a quarter of all police referrals at school. 70% of kids in the juvenile justice system struggle with mental health issues.>>[Dr. Hunter]: I think that the thing that is startling is the incidents rate of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.>>[Narrator]: Dr. John Hunter is a medical psychologist who works with kids in the juvenile jail in New Orleans.>>[Dr. Hunter]: I cannot tell you how many kids I have treated here who have bullets in their body. They’ve had their best friend die in their arms. They’ve seen their fathers murdered. So the incidents level of violence is very, very high. And those problems actually contributed to their getting in trouble and ending up in the juvenile justice system.>>[Brian]: I gotta go get it. I gotta go get it.>>[Narrator]: Brian grew up in Ohio.>>[Brian]: I handle business I did it.>>[Brian]: My family was a family of 8. No father there. My mom just one person taking care of 8 kids. Of course people know how rough that can be.>>[Narrator]: Most of the kids in the juvenile system have a history of trauma.>>[Brian]: At 9 years old this man got killed, shot in front of me. By a Shell gas station. Left him in the bushes. Oh yeah it traumatized me for real. Um…Made me panic a lot.>>How you doing?>>[Narrator]: Brian was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as a boy.>>[Brian]: I was diagnosed with ADHD first. I was young.>>[Narrator]: Brian says he joined a gang when he was 9.>>[Brian]: I found family, a support system. They showed me a lot of love. But they have you do all these things and you get locked up for them.>>[Narrator]: Brian first went to kid jail when he was 12 and spent years in and out of facilities. He says he spent time in solitary confinement.>>[Brian]: I’m not a jail person. I don’t like jail. Trying to maintain you in this cell for 23 hours you gunna go crazy. I believe if you anybody, you gunna go crazy. And you start hearing things. Nobody in your room talking to you. I was uh… hallucinating a lot. I was trippin…I was trippin, I was trippin hard. I’m sorry.>>[Narrator]: Brian says he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When he was inside, he says he was given powerful psychotropic drugs daily. I didn’t have no help.What’s hard for me to receive treatment after being incarcerated. Because don’t nobody want to help me.>>[Dr. Hunter]: These are kids that are typically not welcome in the traditional mental health system because of their behavior problems, um So it’s very hard for them to get access. Once they’ve been identified as a juvenile justice involved youth, a lot of psychiatric facilities will not accept them. Because of their concern about how disruptive their behavior may be and their effect on their staff and other kids.>>[Linda Tedosio]: which the state alleges are sufficient to establish…>>[Narrator]: Linda Tedosio is a juvenile judge in Akron, Ohio whose help rethink how courts treat mentally ill kids.>>[Linda Tedosio]: I think that a lot of folks still believe that if you lock up a youth for awhile regardless of his illness, that he will learn that when he is released that he shouldn’t act that way again. And you know in my mind I always like to liken it to you know if you have a kid who has an epileptic seizure are you really gunna lock them up for a few days to teach them not to have another seizure? If we don’t treat the underlying cause, locking them up or punishing them is not gunna solve the issue.>>Mike left his treatment team notes for me. I’m concerned with how much she’s working a little bit.>>[Narrator]: This group of counselors developers treatment plans for kids with mental health issues who face low level charges. Kids get help and stay out of juvenile jail.>>[Linda Tedosio]: If you do the programming in the community and you’re actually working with them where they live the chances of them being more successful in the long run are much higher because they are connected with those services right there in the community.>>[Narrator]: When kids successfully complete the program, their charges are dropped. Even if a mentally ill child does something that is against the law, it’s not enough just to impose punishment. We really have to couple that with appropriate treatment to give them the best opportunity to move on and have a successful life.>>Chris came a long way from me having to go get him out of bed every morning [people laughing] he’s come a long way.>>Great, so whose next? [People laughing]>>Flex!>>Yeah now you’re good.>>You gunna talk about me cuttin.>>[Narrator]: Brian has stayed out of jail for three years. Since coming home, he’s reunited with his dad and twin brother.>>[Brian Sr.]: Triplets All three men have been locked up.>>[Brian Sr.]: See and I wasn’t around, I didn’t know a lot of things they was doing growing up. I know the things I’ve done and then them being my boys I was like I hear some things here and there and I’m like, “Ah what, he did what?”>>[Brian]: A lot of that had to do with me and bruh lock up because being on probation at a young age you know…>>Been on probation all of our life.>>Told y’all. I got some good boys. I got some good boys. They don’t…they aint out here robbing, stealing none of that you know?>>[Brian]: Aint gangbangin no more. Thank you. I thank you know… I’m just happy about that because like I said it’s just so crazy out here man.>>[Brian]: I wish I had my own TV, my own room, my own room, my own bed, my own clothes. It took away my life. Because I had no childhood. Things I wanted to do, I couldn’t do because I was steady getting locked up.>>[Aisha]: Get in the car. Seatbelts. So Z you gunna be a good boy? Huh?>>Yes.>>You gotta try your best you know that right?>>[Narrator]: In 2011, the year Zion started preschool, his school district arrested more students than any other in the state of Florida.>>[Aisha]: You feel discriminated. He’s Latino and he’s Black too so to me it’s perfect, perfect mix. But you know you do, you feel discriminated. I might not have a lot of money but I’m trying to raise the kid the best I can. And um, I don’t want him to be singled out. I don’t want him to be another statistic. It’s a beautiful day right Zion?>>Yeah.>>[Narrator]: In Florida, 53% of the kids arrested in school are Black even though they are just 21% of the youth population.>>[Elijah Williams]: I asked to come down here to juvenile delinquency because I knew that I would be working with African American males predominantly.>>[Narrator]: Elijah Williams is a juvenile judge in Broward County, Florida. His courtroom is a few miles away from Zion’s neighborhood.>>[Elijah Williams]: I’m gunna look in that box and I’m gunna see dozens of them lined up and I see myself. Because I came from their background. The criminal justice system, our legal system, was designed by people who were white, wealthy and who were highly educated. So my challenge everyday as a judge is to make the system work for people who are of color, who are not as educated, and not as wealthy. That’s what I do everyday when I come to work. [Music playing]>>[Narrator]: Between January 2013 and june 2015 97% of the kids arrested in New Orleans were Black. They make up about 72% of the minors in the city.>>[Chaseray Griffin]: The amount of people we have currently incarcerated, the amount of kids we have currently out of school a lot of that comes from the lack of opportunities provided to those students and the lack of services also. I say probably opportunities and services. Those two things together, make a very bad cocktail.>>[Narrator]: Chaseray Griffin is an education advocate for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He spends a lot of his time reading school discipline records.>>I’m just…all these education documents so right now what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to organize everything because I just got these like a week ago.>>[Narrator]: Buried in Griffin’s paperwork is the file of an 8th grader arrested for battery. He threw Skittles at another boy and spent six nights in juvenile jail. A seventh grade special needs student who spent a night in jail for cursing in a school parking lot. A 10 year old autistic girl who was dragged and pinned to the ground by school police. All of these kids are Black.>>You know there’s just this idea in a lot of the community that’s like well these kids are just bad right. People do just label them as bad kids and do just label them as problem children and do just want to put them in silos where all the bad kids can be. So they kinda just get pushed to the side as like we’ll deal with you the easiest way we possibly can.>>[Narrator]: Sometimes that means an arrest. Nationally, Black students account for almost a third of all school arrests. Eventhough they only make up 16% of the school population.>> [Thena Robinson]: When it comes to Black students the reaction is often that those students should know better. That they’re older than they appear. That we don’t view Black students as children. We view them as little adults. And this…sort of the benefit of the doubt the benefit of innocence, childlike innocence is not afforded to Black students. [Children laughing]>>Boy I got a drink you know those little Minute Maid juices>>[Nicole]: I was in uh, 6th grade and this girl had been kept messing with me. We started fighting. And that’s when I went to jail.>>[Narrator]: Nicole lives in Jefferson Parish, the county next to New Orleans. Nicole says she was 11 when she went to jail for fighting at school.>>[Nicole]: To me it’s just scary I don’t like to be isolated. When I get isolated my nerves get bad. I don’t know I just…They really made me feel like I was a bad person. Like this where they really put bad people at. They tried to treat me like a criminal for real.>>[Quita]: Drove me nuts because I didn’t know why. They kept telling me it was for disciplinary issues at school and I was like, well I thought they handled this at school?>>[Narrator]: In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that in 2011, Jefferson Parish public schools arrested more students than any other school district in Louisiana. In 2014 they found that Black kids made up 80% of the school arrests Even though they are one 41% of the school population here.>>[Sara]: What seems like a small issue of arresting a kid for a minor thing, you know that kid has to face all these extra barriers in order to graduate from high school, go to college, um you know get a job.>>[Narrator]: Sarah Godchaux is an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2012 they filed a complaint with the Department of Education over racial disparities in school arrests here.>>[Sara]: I think putting these barriers for kids especially minority kids is a huge setback for our country because we’re stacking the cards against all children from being able to succeed and become you know successful members of our society.>>[Narrator]: Harsh disciplinary policies in schools became popular in the late 90s. After the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, the number of police officers in schools increased. The number of school related arrests did too but the kids getting arrested were not necessarily dangerous. Black kids and those with disabilities are arrested at school at a higher rate then their classmates.>> [Thena Robinson]: Whereas our white students we find that the response is, “Let’s find out what supports you need.” A Black student who is allegedly acting out in class, that behavior is immediately criminalized.>>It’s unbelievable and it goes on everyday. They have them arrested for petty little stuff. Petty little things that they can handle themselves.>>[Narrator]: Nicole’s twin brother Deon was also arrested in school. Both are special needs students. Deon’s family says he first got locked up long term when he was 13. For almost three years, he bounced between group homes and juvenile facilities.>>[Deon]: They were horrible.Worst time in my life. I wish I could go back on there just to fix that time. Wish I had a time machine right now, I could just press rewind.>>[Narrator]: When we spoke with Deon in April he had just been released from a juvenile prison outside New Orleans.>>[Interviewer] So how does it feel to be out now? After being in the facility?>>[Deon]: Oh man. Feels good. Real good.>>[Interviewer]: What are your plans now for the future?>>[Deon]: Plans for the future, I got so many plans. I’m trying to become the next upcoming rapper. And um, trying to get a job, go back to school, you know basically what a young teenager trying to do. By the grace of God just helping me and just helping me do the right thing. I’m just trying to do the right thing. Because I got another chance to do the right thing. Many people don’t get other chances.>>[Narrator]: About 2 months after we interviewed Deon he had gotten locked up again.>>[Interviewer]: Alright is there anything else you want to say before I pack up and get out of here?>>[Deon]: Nah just thank you for spending time with us. That’s it.>>[Narrator]: The Southern Poverty Law Center found that since 2012 the racial disparities in school arrests have actually gotten worse. In April, they asked the Department of Justice to investigate. Jefferson Parish public schools declined an interview. They provided a statement saying that they are aware and concerned by the allegations and will work with the agencies involved to resolve any issues.>>It’s too late. You know, help these children while they have a chance while they’re still young and there is a chance for them. Because the older they get, the worse it’s going to get. It starts out small and it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The long term effect is the children give up. My son has like totally given up. He’s given up on school, he’s given up on himself. It’s like nothing I do matters so I may as well do whatever they say I’m doing and be what they say I’m a be. You know which is sad. It’s really really sad.>>[Glenn Holt]: They’re not up yet? Well why don’t we go ahead and just turn on their lights just to get ’em… Because if we don’t, they’ll never get up.>>[Narrator]: This is the Youth Study Center, the juvenile jail in New Orleans. The kids here haven’t been found guilty, they’re all locked up awaiting trial on charges ranging from school fights to robbery and rape.>>[Timothy]: I’ve been here since January. So that’s like 5, 6 months.>>[Interviewer]: What do you miss about home?>>[Timothy]: The cooking. You know? Having little talks you know. We used to play cards for candy, I miss that. Lord like you never knew how important it was to spend time with your family and you be like I really don’t see my mom everyday. You know? I can’t see my family everyday so>>[Narrator]: On the day we visited the jail in May, every kid here was Black.>>[Glenn Holt ]: They’re all African American, Black, young Black kids. Um today my population is 100% Yesterday my population was 100%, my population has been 100% um most of the time that I’ve been here.>>[Narrator]: Glenn Holt has run this jail for 5 years.>>[Glenn Holt]: We have an anomaly in Orleans Parish in that white kids don’t go to detention. Apparently they don’t commit car burglaries, apparently they don’t get in school fights and commit assaults. Apparently they’re not selling drugs. Because if they are, they’re not winding up in detention.>>[Narrator]: The disparity here in New Orleans is especially stark but not unusual. Nationally, Black kids are more than twice as likely to be arrested as white kids. They’re also more likely to be charged as adults. That’s what happened to Timothy. Even though he’s 16, Timothy faces charges in adult court.>>[Tania Galloni]: In the adult court kids face something that they don’t face in juvenile court which is mandatory minimums. Certain offenses carry mandatory minimum prison terms. So you’re looking at 10 years. Now when you’re 15 years old, and you’re looking at a 10 year sentence that’s almost as long as you’ve been alive. There’s no consideration for that sort of proportionality when a child is in adult court.>>[Narrator]: In Louisiana, 17 year olds go straight to adult court. They are not charged as juveniles. It’s 1 of 11 states where kids as young as 16 or 17 are automatically charged as adults. But anywhere but the U.S. kids can be charged as adults if a judge or prosecutor makes that call. They are much more likely to do so with minorities.>>Prosecutors sometimes want to bring adult charges to appear tough on crime. They think they are going to teach the kid a lesson. They think that if you’re 17 how different is that from being 18? The problem is that all the research shows that trying kids in adult court actually leads to more recidivism and that means more crime, more repeat offenders, more serious offenses.>>[Narrator]: An estimated 5,400 kids sleep in adult jails and prisons on any given night in America. While he could face a decade or more in adult prison if found guilty, Timothy is lucky to be here now. He had been held in New Orleans Parish prison, one of the most violent jails in America.>>[Timothy]: It really like nasty it’s dirty. It’s a bad place.>>[Narrator]: This video was shot by inmates there in 2009.>>[Timothy]: Anything could happen to you over there. You know? It’s not even safe, you know? It’s not a safe environment.>>[Narrator]: Glenn Holt helped lead the effort to bring kids charged as adults to this facility.>>[Glenn]: Well I think what’s different about kids is there’s a willingness to learn. As challenging as they can be on certain days Um…it’s really interesting to watch them grow. You know and mature. And in some cases kinda change right before you. You know I saw some tape the other day I was looking at and I saw you help out staff. That was pretty amazing.>>[Narrator]: The Youth Study Center seem to be doing what juvenile jails are supposed to do, help kids.>>[Leroy]: Alright y’all ready to get started?>>[group]: Yes.>>[Leroy]: Alright so we got 5 words we’re gunna talk about today for the beginning.>>[Narrator]: Leroy Crawford is an assistant superintendent here. He runs a group session called “Inside Out”.>>[Leroy]: Third word?>>[Group]: Family.>>[Leroy]: Fourth word?>>[Group]: Money.>>[Leroy]: And the last word?>>[Group]: Disrespect.>>[Leroy]: So Inside Out was about giving them the opportunity to express themselves without judging them. Travell you speak very well you’re very articulate. So somehow you gotta get the people out there to see that and say I’ve changed. Let them see that who they are is better than what they have done. Or what they have been accused of. We want some success stories at whatever level you are. Keep your paperwork with you and I’m gunna let Tim get the rest.>>[Timothy]: I just feel like I have a purpose to be here. I feel like I’m here to do some good you know? Something positive. Even though I’m in here I can make a change in here you know.>>[Glenn]: So you could do maybe…>>[Narrator]: This juvenile jail may be one of the more progressive in the country. But it wasn’t built out of good will. It took years of litigation over unconstitutional conditions before the city settled and agreed to fix it. It took similar lawsuits to start reforming Ohio’s juvenile justice system. Around the time Savannah was held there, a court appointed monitoring team visited.>>[Interviewer]: What do you think of this place?>>[Savannah]: I think they try to make it a good place.>>[Interviewer]: And do they?>>[Savannah]: They make the difference but not a positive difference.>>[Narrator]: The investigator’s were looking into complaints of abuse by staff and the overuse of solitary confinement.>>[Interviewer]: Well anything else you guys want to tell me? I’m going to follow through on what you’ve said.>>[Narrator]: Kim Tandy, a Cincinnati based attorney spent more than a decade, suing the state of Ohio over conditions.>>[Kim]: We got statements, written statements, by about a dozen kids who were there long term.>>[Narrator]: One of them was Allen.>>[Kim]: He was a bit of a fighter and he was going to tell us what was going on.>>[Allen]: Me and Kim started talking more and more, they started coming more often and I started calling.>>[Kim]: He would call us about other kids. He was a little bit of a protector for other kids.>>[Narrator]: Allen’s testimony helped Kim Tandy build a case against Ohio’s Department of Youth Services. She sued the state and it ultimately settled. Since 2008, the number of kids locked up in Ohio has dropped by almost 70%. 5 juvenile facilities have closed and the state has significantly reduced the use of solitary confinement. Ohio’s Department of Youth Services declined an interview. They said in a statement that they are proud of the reforms that they have made. In New Orleans, a similar reform started 5 years ago. Now kids held here are not allowed to spend more than 8 hours in their cells during the day.>>[Glenn]: So this is a typical room. And we have no solitary confinement. The worst the child could get is to spend 4 to 7 hours in this room and then they’re out.>>[Narrator]: But only 8 states have passed laws that prohibit or limit the use of solitary confinement for kids. Juvenile justice systems in 29 states have been investigated or sued over conditions since 2000. There has been movement to improve the lives of incarcerated children but it’s often been a long battle.>>[Glenn]: You’ll be in court tomorrow. We have the capability of creating more harm than good and really messing a kid up if we don’t do it right. And there are some places in the United States that are messing kids up. Tight end or a tackle? [Laughing] These are kids. And these kids are still growing. These kids are still maturing. We have to hold them accountable but at the same time, they’re not a life wasted. And they’re not a life that doesn’t deserve a chance to grow and mature into a healthy adult.>>[Cory]: I saw the ugly painful side of what this broken system does to so many young people in our country. We put them on a worse track whether it’s putting them in solitary confinement, traumatizing them or putting them on the streets now not able to get a job, to get a student loan, to get a business license to provide for themselves. That road becomes very slippery.>>[Narrator]: About 75% of the kids who spend time in juvenile jail will face new charges 2-3 years after they’re released.>>[Allen]: Once you get into trouble, it’s like you can never escape it again. It’s almost like a curse.>>[Savannah]: It didn’t take me as a kid at 14 it didn’t make me a better kid. No. It definitely did not. I committed a worse crime when I came home.>>[Narrator]: Juvenile justice system is supposed to rehabilitate kids so that they don’t get locked up again. But it failed to do that for Savannah and Allen. Both went to adult jail shortly after leaving Ohio’s kid prisons.>>[Kim]: We’re producing a population of kids who rotate over and over into our juvenile facilities and then into our adult jails.>>[Cory]: And so this just becomes our cycle all the while, consuming tax payer dollars. Eating away at our Public Treasury. Because it costs so much to imprison somebody, to arrest them, to try them. And so we’re just draining that.>>[Narrator]: The Justice Policy Institute estimates that the real price of locking kids up including loss return earnings and tax revenue, could be as high as $21 Billion.>>[Cory]: Recidivism rates in this country are outrageous. You have upwards of 3/4 of the people you’re releasing coming back. That doesn’t make any sense. Smart investments early in the process can help people stay out of prison, save taxpayer money, elevate human achievement and that’s what we should be trying to do.>>[Savannah]: These are my first tattoos. Loyalty and Respect. They always meant a lot. And I got “Civil Savage” on my neck. It’s kinda like an oxymoron. Civil and savage all at the same time. You know.>>[Narrator]: Before Savannah left Ohio’s juvenile justice system, she was trying to make a plan for herself. When she was 19, Savannah requested an early release so she could participate in a program that would help her attend college when she got out.>>[Savannah]: In order for me to participate I would need to have a planned release date prior to December 31, 2012. I really want to take advantage of this program so I hope you will take my request into consideration. I am remorseful for the things that I have done to my community and I would like to be re-known for positive contributions to the community. I respectfully request that this court grant me a judicial release. That was it.>>[Interviewer]: What happened?>>[Savannah]: They denied my release. I was mad but at the same time I was really I never really seen it getting accepted in the first place. So, it wasn’t like I got more time or nothing like that. I wasn’t really banking on an early release.>>[Narrator]: Savannah was released almost 2 years after writing the letter. A few months after being released from kid prison, Savannah says she missed curfew and was arrested on a parole violation. Even though she was originally locked up for juvenile charges. Savannah was now an adult and was sent to the county jail. Savannah is not unique.>>[Linda]: If you take a child and you incarcerate that child for a period of time let’s say 6 months to a year. You might provide them with great treatment in that facility and you might do a lot of really positive things for that youth hopefully while they’re incarcerated. If they come back to the community and they have the same friends, the family has made no changes, they go back to the same school, the same peers; What do you really think the chances are that they’re going to maintain those gains that they made while they were incarcerated?>>You know I had that little nervous stomach cause you heard so many stories when you was locked down, then you get back out here where this s**** really poppin at.>>[Allen]: Once you get in the system once you get put into the system like you stuck. I was telling y’all earlier. Like you stuck.>>[Kim]: I think if Allen wants to do it, he can do anything. He has great potential that he hasn’t begun to realize yet. And so I hope he can put a support system around himself to go back to school, to be gainfully employed, but like many of these kids coming out, he needs a lot of help to do that.>>[Narrator]: When Kim Tandy talks about a support system, she’s talking about things most young people take for granted. A home, a doctor, a parent.>>[Brian]: Being locked up showed me a lot of things. Taught me a lot of things too. When I got out, it was a week later I did just 2 years 14 to 16. A week in I get locked back up. Why? Because this is all I know. So when I get out, what I do? Resort right back to the same things that I kew best.>>[Narrator]: Brian has been able to stay out of jail for the last three years but he struggled with homelessness.>>[Female voice on phone]: How can I help you?>>[Brian]: How you doing? I’m calling to see if y’all have any available beds open?>>[Narrator]: When we first met Brian he and his father were getting along. But a few days after we visited they argued and he wound up on the street.>>[Female voice on phone]: We don’t have any space.>>[Brian]: Alright bye-bye. Just hearing that lady say that there’s no more openings for the shelter that I was trying to go to, it just bummed me out. It just, you know what I’m saying, bummed me out.>>[Stuart]: My experience with almost 100% of the kids in juvenile justice settings come from impoverished and not well functioning homes. Our society has not created an umbrella of services that really addresses those problems. But if you don’t address those problems and they just continue and worsen, then it’s very likely that the kid Is gunna end up in trouble.>>[Brian]: You see where I’m at? You see…my plan is I’m sitting down when I’m done interviewing when y’all done interviewing me This where I’ll be at. Right here. Aint going nowhere.>>[Aisha]:We’re a little early my love.>>[Zion]: Yay we’re early! I like being early.>>[Aisha]: You like to be early?>>[Zion]: Yeah>>[Aisha]: Yeah.>>[Narrator]: Aisha feared her son Zion would be charged with battery after kicking his teacher. But there were no charges. Instead, he was moved to a new school.>>[Zion]: There’s something in this pocket.>>[Aisha]: When you walk in the school, you get searched. You can’t bring book bags, you have to take your shoes off, they pat you. At first, I was very skeptical of it until I saw how happy he became. The couple of days that he was there you know, they talked to him, they understood him. It seemed like they could understand him. That they’ve had kids like him.>>[Belinda]]: Good morning.>>[Students]: Good morning You too. Walk, walk walk, walk… Thank you. Good morning. Pine Ridge is the best kept secret in Broward County. What’s different about it is that we’ve given kids an alternative to a traditional classroom setting. We’ve given them a second chance for whatever reason whether it’s behavior, whether they’ve made a mistake, um whatever the situation is they can come here and we’re not accusing them of anything, we’re not holding that over their head. Good morning. It’s your first day? Okay, right through there.>>[Narrator]: Belinda hope is a principle of Pine Ridge school in Broward County, Florida which houses The Promise Program.>>[Belinda]: A couple years ago Broward County had the highest number of school arrests in Florida. We realized, something had to be done because students were being arrested for things like theft. A cellphone I can return the cellphone and give you strategies instead of messing up your whole life. So that’s how the Promise Program was kind of born from that concept.>>[Narrator]: Instead of being arrested for minor offenses students are being given the choice to participate in the program and their record stays clean.>>Wanna make sure that he’s on track and he’s receiving whatever support systems that we can provide to avoid any future infractions.>>[Elijah]: My name is Elijah Williams. I am a Circuit Court Judge here in Broward County.>>[Narrator]: Judge Elijah Williams helped developed the program.>>[Elijah]: There was a moment in which it hit me that I was locking up more kids than any other judge in the state of Florida. And then, I began to find out about how many kids were trapped where they can’t get any future prospects in terms of education and jobs. So at that point I recognized I needed to find a new direction. Because essentially the more I locked up, the more lives I was destroying. So I’m going to encourage you to ensure that he has a future without the mark of an arrest on his record to participate in this program. You have to make a distinction between those kids that scare you and those kids that make you angry. If you’re the child that likes to write on our bathroom walls, if you’re the type of child who likes to smoke marijuana, those are things that make all of us angry. But those are not things that scare us. So those particular individuals should be not arrested, placed into a program and dealt with from a treatment standpoint.>>Does that make you feel better?>>[Girl speaking]: Yes.>>[Belinda]: The counseling is kinda the foundation of it because what we found are so many other things that are going on. A lot of times these kids are crying out for help and don’t know how.>>You guys know new people my name is Mrs. Kholo and I’ll be your teacher for the duration you’re in Promise.>>[Belinda]: They have a full class schedule where they’re given different strategies just to help them make better decisions. And to help them understand how this could affect the rest of their life.>>Do you do drugs normally?>>[Male voice]: No.>>So what made you do it? Make me understand what you were thinking.>>[Male voice]: We can’t.>>You can’t. So it was a mistake?>>[Narrator]: Students can come to the Promise Program for things like fighting, theft and drug use at school. Most kids are here a few days, before going back to their regular classrooms.>>Kids make mistakes and that’s what it means to be a kid. We make mistakes that I don’t think if we make one mistake one day, I don’t think it should ruin your entire future.>>[Narrator]: Since the Promise Program started in 2013, the number of school arrests in Broward County has dropped by 51%.>>[Male Teacher]: Ok who can tell me where do we start off?>>[Zion]: Name and date.>>[Male teacher]: Name and date beautiful.>>[Aisha]: They were so loveable at the Promise Program.>>[Male Teacher]: Zion>>[Zion]: He goes to baseball.>>[Male Teacher]: He’s gunna go to baseball.>>[Aisha]: He felt understood.>>[Narrator]: After spending a few days in the program school administrators decided to keep Zion long term to help with his behavior issues.>>[Female teacher]: What type of words, words that we…>>Zion’s my little buddy. Zion comes in with the mainframe, “I’m really gunna try my best to be good today, I’m really gunna do everything that I can. But something inside of me is telling me no don’t do it, no. Be bad, be aggressive, hit people. I don’t want you to hurt yourself. See I don’t like when you talk like that Stop. Stop.>>[Zion]: Get off of me.>>[Zion]: I don’t.>>[Aisha]: Okay but you can’t do that.>>[Narrator]: Even though Zion had a rough day, his teacher manages the situation without calling the police. A reminder that often solving problems doesn’t require law enforcement.>>[Aisha]: Why don’t you go wash your face. I know my son better than anybody and I see it.>>[Teacher]: You want to give me a hug?>>[Zion]: Yeah.>>[Teacher]: It’s alright. It’s not you.>> Some of your senators are in this school, the next judge could be in this school. You don’t know what these students can become and we’ve already labeled them because they’ve decided maybe that these kids aren’t worth it. They are. You should see them.They’re beautiful, they have beautiful hearts.>>[Woman on loud speaker]: Ms. King can you please come to the office. Ms King.>>[Elijah]: I often times hear people say that our children are our future. I don’t like that statement. I think we adults are the future. I think that unless we create the proper enviornment unless we create the proper future for our children, they won’t be our future.>>[Narrator]: Brian reconciled with his dad but remains homeless. He’s gone back to school to get his G.E.D.>>[Brian]: I’m gunna break the cycle. And I’m gunna get up on my feet. And I’m gunna have better things than my parents. I’m going to break it. I’m going to break the chain because I feel like I need to.>>[Senator Booker]: Nothing will change unless we do. And if we cant raise the conscious of our country the moral imagination that we are better than this and get more people to get engaged because this is not one of those big issues. You’re not going to see this leading the headlines on the evening news or you poll people in this next presidential election will this be one of the big…it won’t be. But this is one of these issues that we as a country have to say: “This is not us.”>>[Narrator]: Savannah went to county jail on a parole violation after leaving juvenile prison.>>[Girl]: Get me get me!>>[Savannah]: You know you’re not supposed to be doing that.>>[Narrator]: Since being released from jail she’s picked up a new charge.>>[Savannah]: They read my whole juvenile record in there. They started, you know from 2005. So I was like, I didn’t even know that they would do something like that.>>[Narrator]: She’s facing a harsher sentence because of her juvenile record.>>[Linda]: Quite frankly if locking a child up taught them a lesson so they’d never commit a crime, we would be the safest country in the world because we lock up so many children. But clearly experience shows that doesn’t work. It’s not teaching them a lesson. It’s not getting them on the right path.>>[Narrator]: A few months after our interview we visited Allen again. Kim Tandy had offered him the chance to join a re-entry program in Cincinnati four hours away from home.>>[Allen]: So when I talked to her today and we uh talked about maybe going tomorrow or something. Go out there, see what it’s like, see what I can make happen.>>[Narrator]: Allen still hasn’t gone.>>[Cory]: I have known so many of these young kids who have beauty and strength and potential that we’re wasting and squandering. I don’t want to be in the country that leads the globe, the planet earth in incarceration.>>[Narrator]: Zion went through a serious of brain scans this summer. He got a new diagnosis. Intermittent seizures.>>[Aisha]: What it is basically he gets so overwhelmed that it needs to come out. Kinda like Tourette’s Syndrom. It builds up and it has to come out and then they feel much better afterwards.>>[Narrator]:Zion is on new medication and is doing better. He started at the same school in August.>>[Aisha]: I want him to be able to do whatever he wants. Whatever he wants, whatever he likes, he should be able to. Anything that he did in elementary school I don’t think it should matter. And he’s really trying really hard.>>[Zion]: God help me.>>[Aisha]: You know I’m proud of you right?>>[Zion]: Yeah.>>[Aisha]: Yeah. I love you.>>[Zion]: I love you too.

You may also like...

99 Responses

  1. bj krand says:

    I️ thought that this was a great video to show the struggles that minorities go through. From this video I️ retained more information about solitary confinement, and about the additional help that these individuals actually need to improve their behavior. The youth who are sent to jail for small to mild crimes are actually returning to society worse than behavior. This should be a wake up call for authorities that they’re current methods are actually damaging these children even more. But the actual question is, if they see the way these disciplinary actions are negatively impacting the youth then why don’t they alter there methods?

  2. Manju Cheenath says:

    I think that it's really intereting that Zion was misdiagnosed before. A child from a higher income family likely would have access to better healthcare and doctors, who could have diagnosed him correctly at the beginning, so he could get proper treatment and not even have to go to another school. Lower income children need to get the same quality of treatment to help change this problem.

  3. Aarushi A says:

    I definitely agree that arresting such a large number of children for minor infractions worsens the problem instead of solving it. America is the leading country for the number of people incarcerated, yet our crime rates haven't decreased. People in this documentary like Brian and Savannah have a lot of potential , but because they are charged for minor infractions, they lose opportunities and have higher chances to go back in jail.

  4. spoorthi vittaladevuni says:

    This was a fascinating documentary about the mass incarceration of minority juveniles. This school to prison pipeline directly targets the most vulnerable citizens of society: minorities, the disabled, and children. As someone who lives in a fairly affluent neighborhood, it is easy to forget the problems that plague lower income communities. We need to come together as society to have legislative and socio cultural changes. Our representatives in government have a responsibility to fight for legislation that protects children from unnecessary solitary confinement, imprisonment for petty crimes, and the establishment of re-assimilation programs. Communities need to come together to help incarcerated children integrate back into society and become fully functioning adults

  5. Salonia Harper says:

    The whole documentary is regarding kids and how the juvenile system treats them. What I find interesting is that these kids are being talked and showed off to the world yet there seems to be a high rate of incarcerated juveniles. In the documentary it is said that they believe the difference between kids is that “they are teachable”. How can you teach someone that does not know anything but four prison walls and the ins and out of prison and then throw them back into society. The rehabilitation of these kids is where I believe as people we fail. Most of these kids may feel as if there is no hope for them and that they only they are seen as are criminals. Personally, it does not matter the color of your skin or the age you are but I do believe children go off of what they are taught and what they see. As a society this just May our responsibility because these children are the face of the future.

  6. Rodd Dastmalchi says:

    The documentary does a nice job depicting the flaws of the strict juvenile detention setup and how it creates a cycle of being in and out of prison for many teens. It illustrates how this system is more about punishment than rehabilitation which is a main source of the issue of juvenile crime. Instead of solitary confinement, there should be more emphasis on schoolwork and trade-school-esque education. Many young adults are being put in prison and do not see a way out of the system which causes them to lose hope and resort to street life instead of higher education. There need to be changes to this process to implement more preparatory programs so that when these teens do come out of jail, they can easily adjust to the real world and become useful members of society.

  7. it'svenom bro says:

    There put me in special education just because I am very slow. Because I was reading 2nd reading level in high school there told me I have adhd I am almost 27 and I have no job My special education teachers I really have nothing no education there rejecti me in college because I had a 2nd reading level i blame my teachers and i blame my fucking adhd

  8. David Goldstein says:

    If children can be arrested at age 7 in america, america is an officially fucked up country. Mind you my country of Israel is also somewhat fucked up because they lock children in military detention.

  9. Fearless Premium says:

    I remember watching this in my 10th grade year in English class

  10. Nestor Rendon says:

    Just saw it in class anyone wanna help me write an essay about this?

  11. la cuccaracha says:

    I have watched NDE videos and in hell you have no contact with other are tormented by demons

  12. The Incarcerated Nation Y.A.P.P says:

    Thank you all for your comments please subscribe to support our ability to provide educational information to the world

  13. James Ellis Martin says:

    Fools at the top are creating criminals at the bottom and no one is addressing it head on or speaking out against it. When black parents and other people of color were allowed to raise their children, disciplining them when necessary and yes, yes spankings was a part of that, this madness which we are seeing today was not an issue at all. It was a white folks issue but black kids knew better. Now, children who once respected and obeyed their parents, mainly blacks and others are being set up to fail, because of white fear, and greater greed. Do not think for a moment that the white Devils who have orchestrated this decline in the black community have not created it with the specific purpose of destroying it. This is an ongoing way for them to continue to enslave us, and keep control of our lives in a death grip! Many of the people speaking in behalf of blacks and other people of color are most often white. When we consider history, is it surprising to realize that they have an agenda to make a profit off us? We are trapped in a system which they have created specifically to work for them and destroy us. This is going on around the world. It is not isolated and is happening everywhere people of color are living. Folks please wake up! All we are to them is an experiment. Using, incarceration, psychological – so-called therapy, whatever name they can think of to call it. We are test tube samples for them. The once spanking of the hand or behind which did work to help our young folk stay out of trouble and alive has been banned and replaced with yet another one of their hellish creations which was never meant to help our people. Can I get an Amen?

  14. Sabrina love-me-lots says:

    Anyone can see these young people need help and guidance. To lock them away is a temporary fix not addressing the problems, it's just a way to try to hide the problem.

  15. garycsfunlife says:

    I was in a place in Buffalo NY and solitary confinement could last days or weeks depending on how you would act but the longer you where there the worse you got in an endless loop till something broke in you and before that the school would lock me in a timeout room all day with no windows or bathroom it was a closet with a lock and yes this type of punishment dose damage and after this and finally at 40 a doctor tested me and if my problems where treated my life would have been vary different but all the people in the system would not have been paid if I was treated because they knew my problems where easy to fix but didn't bother now ask yourself why well I know just like the prison system follow the money

  16. Ahmi H says:

    Zion aint even in middle school yet tf

  17. it'svenom bro says:

    frist of all I didn’t have a good education in high school there put me in special education I did not learn anything in school they put me in special-education and it was like hell for me i reading level was like a 2nd grade He put me with the low disabled students Also if you’re not white in special education teachers treat you very bad this is what I notice special education teachers always target Do unit with Carlos and I shit you not I didn’t have a diploma they give me an Iep diploma and I really hate all of my fucking special education teacher hate me I don’t know is it because of my background or is it because of my disability which I have no control of it because are used to give them a hard time so what then why the fuck did they became special ed teachers they’re just doing it for the money my life is fuck up i am now 27 and there put me in special education for 14 years i hate this life you dont have any family in school School board if you don’t have any family or any friends in the superintendent discrete office all my life I was 20 like a little class citizen they put me in special education for 14 years since I was a child all the way until age of 21 I do believe my special ed teachers for failing me I know my English sucks but like I said before if you’re not white and special education teachers treat you very bad Ialways getting in troub in high school and none of my special education teacher help always getting into fights in high school I do feel your pain when you’re in special-education teacher just like shit they give us a useless piece of shit second grade worksheets which by the way I never did all I ever did was sleep watch movies watch the news play video games on the computer and even my art teacher told me go back to second-grade because I couldn’t read well he now works in the school for 15 years my special education teacher has been a teacher at that school for 18 years I am not doing anything in my life I tried to get my GED but the motherfuckers at the disability service center say no. I know failed the test I failed everything in my life I feel that my family fuck special education fuck everybody I just hated my life how they put me in special ed and not teaching me anything all we ever did the special ed was go Christmas shopping and volunteering I have been doing volunteering for 10 years in high school fuck system I pray to God every day I hope my special education teacher gets into a big car accident and dies The school system with against me because of my background and they put me in special ed because I do not understand why do they hate special education students with colors and they love whites doing it I have witnessed so many time at whites doing it’s all getting so much trouble and special education teacher goes in the phantom but if you are a college student you get a deep trouble all I’m gonna say is this if you’re not part of any group or any football team in high school then you are fucked you have no life after high school I was never part of that shitty life fuck society and fuck special-education I have multiple disability I have a reading problem Fuck society fuck everyone and feel them in my life ever want to keep on telling me I’m nothing but a troublemaker seriously I hope special education lose all the money

  18. The Best says:


  19. marijuana buona says:


  20. Interesting says:

    First of all, we have to understand the reason. why this child is doing what he is doing. and then we have to treat those reasons to our best of our abilities. For example, john keeps getting stomach problems. he dont know why this happen. so he went to the doctor to check why his stomach hurts. and he found out that his stomach start to hurt when get really angry. thats the golden key! now we know why his stomach hurts, and our job is to eliminate the source that is causing the problem ( which is the emotional problem). john have to find ways to eliminate his stress. Some of the ways are, yoga, lifting weights, maybe spending time in sports, or even just sitting outside with some friends. always look for the root source of the problem and try to cut that root.

  21. lungie n says:

    Rip xxx☹

  22. Angel Reed says:

    One thing all this kids have in common, no father in the home. I wonder if the women lib groups fell good about themselves, destroying families.

  23. Libra Goddess says:

    These children need counseling and rehabilitation not this. Many sadly are criminals in the making bc from the beginning society is shaping them in that direction

  24. London Versace says:

    anxiety attacks dont make you throw shit like that lmfaooo

  25. lim joo ve says:

    this is very ridiculous, how can people try kids as crime.

  26. Peg MacMillan says:

    Kids and young teenagers need to respect and learn to be more nicer to there parents and listen to them and not act up and do stupid things then they won't be in juvenile live and learn is what I always say 😐

  27. Teresa Wicks says:

    I just love Zion!!! His prayer to God was just precious and I know God heard him and will help him!!! And God bless those who cares for Zion show them what to do for Zion he it seems he is so full of love!!!

  28. Joe Spear says:

    I spent 5 years locked up in the juvenile system. there was nothing but antagonist staff setting up for failure. there was no help! was told nearly every day I was just going to be an adult convict..I am not!

  29. Derek Irvin says:

    I find it AWFUL interesting that this INCREDIBLY EYEOPENING documentary is being interrupted by commercials advertising for digital gaming advocating VIOLENCE! At least these are the commercials showing as I watch the documentary this morning! Youtube/Google, you need to fix this.

  30. I laugh for complex reasons says:

    Yet another black dude thinks he's going to be a MC.

  31. Zebra M says:

    American culture. Breakdown of the family unit. Breakdown of the family is the breakdown of society. Indoctrination of sexual licence , a mad gun culture that puts weapons in the hands of children then sends them to jail for life in a system that sends children to adult courts. A broken down society

  32. YoDood215 says:

    He deserved to die

  33. YoDood215 says:

    Has Russel met kids in idk africa? They rob and steal at will.

  34. wolfy 12636 says:

    im prob gonna end up there :/

  35. Bjorn is cracked says:

    ooga booga

  36. Will Nowlan says:

    whos here from the PVCC criminology course?

  37. mr nonviolence says:

    American prison system is way too strict no common sence

  38. Maggie Otsuka says:

    the reason kids today are do bad it's because of the laws here a parent can't spank a child when he or she needs it because the parents are afraid of being arrested. I say G/D the laws

  39. Maggie Otsuka says:

    When Zion kicked the teacher why didn't his mother do anything about it? is she just going to let the school handle it or what? that kid needs help get it before he ends up in juvie!

  40. Maggie Otsuka says:

    Look what solitary confinement does to adults. think of the effect it has on children. i think Solitary confinement should be abolished

  41. Maggie Otsuka says:

    Where is Zion's father?

  42. Joy Smith says:

    Could these kids not take prescription drugs, but teach kids based on their learning skills? These poor kids I feel so bad for them

  43. Adam Epstein says:

    If these kids did something wrong, they deserve to be punished. How do you people not see this?

  44. Skorpia / says:

    Woah, a kid was locked up for six days for throwing skittles at another boy… That's messed up, I don't care if it was a night or a year, all he should got was a slap on the back of the hand

  45. Richie F says:


  46. Young SPaceMANN says:

    This video!!.. this video!!.. it's sooo heartbreaking and heartwrenching!!???? I been working my ass of in college the past 4 years to finally graduate with my Associates' in Arts just so I can work with today's youth! I'm actually writing this comment in tears thinking of how my own story and watching these youths being given up on and thrown to the side!.. I pray every night that this degree will open the door for me to be employed at a group home for troubled youths, or a peer youth support!! I've always wanted to be a high school guidance counselor to guide high school students in the right direction!! But my heart truly wants to help the troubled youth in my area and my state of North Carolina!! My father has always been a woman abusing addict, but I was blessed with a father figure who's been in my life 27 years (I'm 31 at the moment) who has saved the lives of so many youths from just being their for them to extensive work at group homes!! I hope to take what I observed watching him all these years and take it to the next level! The youth are the foundation to creating a better society!!

  47. danny serrano says:

    Almost all criminals, adult or juvenile, have mental issues, that does not justify harming their victims.

  48. crazy ferret lady says:

    I don't think anyone can watch this and still claim America to be the best country in the world…. It's been proven time after time after time that locking kids up DOESN'T work and yet they still do it…

  49. JN Woodard says:

    It’s crazy how the decline of discipline correlates with the rise of juvenile criminal activity. I could see the bias in the video from its outset, but there is a ring of truth to it. Society has been in decline, and morals have been shoved to the side to make way for a CHILD’S “freedoms”. If you remove the ability for a parent to raise their child appropriately, then the government will seek alternatives.

  50. Lexi Noel says:

    this lady better get the hell out of florida! he is a baby! this is crazy!

  51. noel noel says:

    Please don't believe the hype these kids are fucked up I spent my whole teenage years locked up .. why because I was a fuck up and didint care no amount of counseling therapy or talking to me would help I did what I did because I wanted to .. I stopped getting in trouble because I wanted to don't feel sorry for these fuckers they get in trouble because they want to some will change some are destined to be in prison and that's that .. fuck these little bastards you can fell sorry for them if you want but that will change when they show up at your home in the middle of the night .. but don't worry when they show up just give them a hug tell them you love them … than give them you car keys if not your fucken dead .. and that's ?..

  52. Joy Lesile says:

    Break that cycle already this been going on for centuries. Fuck up anybody mind up in that facility ??

  53. Broken Arrow says:

    He was a thug… There kids are hopeless.

  54. David Lewis says:

    This breaks my heart to see. Prisons aren't made to rehabilitate, they take a kid in for a very minor offense, yet they've now learned how to do major offenses from the "old convicts". These kids are being set up to fail, and fail miserably at that. You can't punish a 13-year-old the same as you can an 18-year-old for the same crime, with the exception of murder, and even then there have to be major differences in the treatment of them. America, we have GOT to do better than this.

  55. Vonkessel hieshmer says:

    America is fuckin disgusting. Everyone says oh america is sooo great. Its only great if you have money. America is a authoritarian country disguised as a democracy. We lock up more people than any other country. China is a authoratarian country with 4 times the population than america and we still lock up more people than china. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM!!!

  56. Evo8M~R says:

    I went to high school with Aisha… if u read this, just remember the benches outside at lunch and remember the kid with the glasses who was the most outspoken 1 there… lol.

  57. Jazmin Lombardi says:

    What is the timestamp there they talk about the Skittles incident

  58. Mang Dingle says:

    How does a first grader get suspended?

  59. Aydian Alexander says:

    They deserve everything they got. Absolutely everything. If they commit crimes they should be held accountable.

  60. kd1only says:

    So, if you want to get a good schooling, you should be a prisoner first 41:42

  61. Anthony Gretton says:

    Kids are in prison for skipping school, missing curfew or running away from home! Christ how can anyone think that country is free? Apparently in San Diego it’s illegal for people under 18 to be out after 10pm! Where’s the 2nd amendment people in this!

  62. Kristin Wallace says:

    I never went to prison. But I went to a residential treatment center, that was just as bad. I was put on communication block with everyone and I wasn't allowed to get off my mattress that they put in the middle of the living room. I was supposed to sit their 24/7 with nothing to do, and no-one to talk too. How is this supposed to help a kid with depression? Limiting basic human rights is never going to help a kid! Tough love is just an excuse to abuse kids. How do they expect kids to act after that?

    That Pine Ridge Academy school looks amazing! It is a great example of how to help a kid! With love and respect! Zion seems like such a sweet and bright kid! I wish him and all of these kids the best!

  63. MikaGaming [WUT] [BPS] & [TB] says:

    Well, when I was in 3rd grade, I bit by teacher AKA: Asalted my teacher

  64. cleetus Beatus says:

    i have adhd

  65. Olivia [] Besson [] Dolan says:

    The boy at the start couldn’t really handle the way he acts, and that’s real messed up

  66. BOBBIE says:

    So I'm about 10 mins into this, my son who inherited adhd from me and has struggled his whole life with it is sitting in a youth Development center in North Carolina, he went in at at 14 Because he ran from some other teams they tried to put him on handed up getting locked up in the highest level of security For minors,told him he had to earn his way out or age out he is 3 months from being 18. And from what I can see and what he has said none of them earn their way out. He had gotten quiet a bit of trouble leading up to all of this but all minor misdemeanor offenses things alot boys do but aren’t caught , Crimes an adult would only do months for , The kid was acting out trying to fit in after below picked on all his life for being different, not that that is an excuse for his behavior, He needed a reality check but he did not by any means deserve Give me locked up until he was 18, his Older siblings who are in college while he sits in jail , His little sister 5 When he went and now 9, his dad died 6 months ago He wasn’t able to attend private where he was in able shackles and As hard as it is on my part surrounded by their brothers and sisters and family is dealing with this all alone I am so ready for my boy to come home and also terrified of what’s to come, I still witnessed the same behaviors I witnessed before he went, There is no Rehabilitation at all where he is at , and I’m afraid he’s worse off now having basically had to grow up there , He left a chubby,short kid With a high pitched voice, Now he is a foot taller than me and sounds like a man but sadly jail is nowhere for a kid to grow up, there is Got to be a better option for our children. Thank you for making this I don’t think people realize how often this happens now if I can not cryI’m Going to try to finish watching:(

  67. FpBklynnnn says:

    Yea ofcourse you don't help these kids cause you want them too keep coming back to pay…..It pays the ada lawyers judge COs

  68. dub duberson says:

    Not gonna tell us the crimes !? Nope. Bias from the start

  69. Cosmic Cards says:


  70. StarInTheMaking says:

    Why did she have to mention that they were black or brown!?
    Racist little bitch!

  71. FranFran BeGaming says:

    Im akid I want to go here

  72. rxjimen says:

    blaming it on the system is stupid and will bring no solution. 30% of the juvenile population in detention centers are there because of serious sexual offenses, an additional 30% for serious crimes against people, i.e., armed robbery, murder and so on. You can't let those out in the streets. blaming that on the system is stupid.

  73. M Alexander says:

    The first kid Zion. I doubt the school is in compliance with the law. It's very common. He needs to be tested for learning disabilities or for ADHD (504 plan) and anxieties affecting his ability to learn. If he has one of those (if not test him) then they need to do a behavioral analysis to determine what the reasons are for the behavior and come up with a plan. They are just using suspension instead. This is why they says schools are the pipeline to prison.

  74. leon anderson says:


  75. leon anderson says:


  76. Mariah Belcher says:

    I remember I first started getting in trouble in 1st grade I would get suspended and all the other bad stuff I still get in trouble

  77. St0rMy Days says:

    Pure B S ! 7 years old, and she brushing his teeth, had enough of this bullshit

  78. Ruu Ruu says:

    These are some of the reasons why I am going through school to work with juveniles in the criminal justice system. There needs to be some changes to improve the future for our children and their children.

  79. Rere Moore says:

    It’s messed up that black children get locked up charged and sentenced for stuff they never did with evidence to prove they didn’t do it yet still convicted and so far no one cares or cares to do there job according to the constitution and law the public servants do what they want depending on that persons integrity.

  80. Alexandria says:

    Only 7 and has a permanent record? Wtf ??

  81. MrKelra says:

    'US lock up more children than every other DEVELOPED country'
    Thats the point: You americans are the only ones on earth who think that you are a developed country^^

  82. Charlie Webber says:

    Seven years old and can’t brush his own teeth my 3-year-old daughter brushes her teeth and and cleans her own ass wow

  83. leroy jenkins says:

    What do these have in common?

  84. Amelia Shostak says:

    best line in this whole doc i believe was, 'to make sure a kids life isn't a life wasted.' now if only that could be true for everyone.

  85. Jesse Delorme says:

    Rapes a little girl, "hes just a kid"

  86. Queen Elle says:

    Zion needs his first belt across his arse. Where is his father? ?

  87. COMMENT KING says:

    HAHA, I;m White!

  88. Ryan O'Hara says:

    Notice how none of these kids have fathers. Ahem…

  89. Seth Marchese says:

    I was brought up in a upper middle class white suburban family and I was sent to juvy two times when I was 16 for several months each time for skipping school. I even had counselors speak on my behalf saying the school system was not challenging me enough and due to my extremely high emotional intelligence, my style of learning is much different than what we offer in public schools. So looking back, the way they dealt with me is a reflection of our incarceration philosophy as a whole. It's not about rehabilitation or solving the issue, it's purely a slave work force mentality.

  90. Ivan Da Platano Boy says:

    Fuck da police✊?

  91. Ivan Da Platano Boy says:

    Fuck juvie fuck da mental institutions fuck da police fuck prison fuck jail an fuck da law✊?

  92. IrishPatriotic says:

    600mg of Seroquel. How the fuck? I was prescribed 50mg per day for sleep and I was like a zombie. Plus I'm 6"2 and 245lbs. Giving a child 600mg is Mengele level medical malpractice

  93. Hans Nielsen says:

    Why do we europeans fight your wars , you are not a democraty US is an evil system only good for rich people

  94. Hans Nielsen says:

    American concentration camps for blacks they are humans like we shame on evil War loving US

  95. Ja Net Robinson says:

    These kids have been transformed into being subhuman.

  96. FFXTrades says:

    This really hits home for me. At 14 I was lock up for Aggravated Assault did 5 years in jail. Now I’m 20 years old. Was just released last year in March. Instead on rehabilitating me the system just taught me how to become a better criminal. You have to understand when you are in jail, prison, or any type of detention facility no body will tell you “you should’ve have done that man” They’ll say “Well you should’ve done it like this so you didn’t get caught.” I deserved the time I was givin, but I just wish they at least taught me things that could’ve helped me when I got back into the free world. I had to find out for myself, but either way I’m still blessed to be out. I know have a job and I’m in the process of trying to create a business. For anyone reading this have a great day/night and God bless you

  97. Bronx Babe says:

    Why is she brushing his teeth at 7 yrs old

  98. TomPettyAsFuck says:

    I hope this documentary spreads and gets so many more views. It’s such an important documentary and and sheds a light on the problems of the juvenile justice system. The rampant racism in the juvenile justice system is shameful. Arresting kids for asinine reasons like throwing Skittles at another kid or cussing is shameful; you’re basically arresting kids for acting like kids. Putting kids in solitary confinement is shameful. If the juvenile justice system actually cared about these kids and reducing crime rates, then they would focus more on prevention than punishment. Instead, the juvenile justice system is contributing to future crimes by not giving these kids the help they so desperately need. These kids weren’t born bad. The environment they have grown up in has greatly affected them and their decision making. They need help and just locking them up doesn’t help them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *