“I ain't know what my rights was in the beginning, but after coming there long enough, I started to figure out that some of the stuff wasn't right that they were doing. They were going by they own book sometime. Once you be here long enough you adapt to the environment.”

Caleb's Story

Caleb is a 17 year-old who lives in Clinton, Mississippi. He has been in and out of the youth court in Hinds County more than a dozen times since he was 14 years old. In this interview, he shares some of his personal experiences with law enforcement and youth court personnel, treatment centers, detention facilities, and probation.

Caleb was diagnosed with depression, PTSD, and conduct disorder. He had been seeing a therapist in a counseling center, and he was prescribed medication, although he often self-medicated with marijuana. He said, “I felt that when I was taking my medication in detention when I was there for long periods of time, it did help me. Because I had the marijuana out of my system… and it was actually able to kick in, and I was able to be calm and think rationally, not just make impulsive decisions, actually use my thinking process.”

Read full interview transcript.

“That was our stance from a family perspective that we were going to the court and we were asking them to put him in facilities that would help rehabilitate him. We were asking about Oakley, because he had committed so many offenses it had just gotten to be a cat and mouse with him.”

Lashay's Story

Caleb’s mother, LaShay has a Master’s degree in Social Work and two other children: a 19 year-old daughter and a 10 year-old son. In her interview, she talks about her frustrations with the system, including the inherent conflicts of interest in the youth court and the lack of adequate education and mental health services available to children who are in detention.

Read full interview transcript.