Interview with Caleb, conducted by Joann Self Selvidge for The Juvenile Project (TJP) on Feb 04, 2017.
Joann: Tell me your first name and how old you are and where you live.
Caleb: Caleb. I'm 17 years of age. I live in Clinton, Mississippi, Hinds County.
Joann: Tell me a little bit about who you are. What do you enjoy doing for fun?
Caleb: I enjoy drawing. I enjoy making music, watching football, playing football, soccer.
Joann: Nobody's seeing that. Nobody's seeing that. This is audio only. When you say making music, what kind of stuff do you like to do?
Caleb: I like romance songs. I like rap, different little things, I guess. I like loud beats and stuff.
Joann: We're here today because you've had some involvement with the juvenile justice system. Can you tell me about the first time you ever were arrested or got in trouble with the system?
Caleb: The first time I was ever arrested was for disorderly conduct at school. What you call it? I had got into a argument with the coach, and we had got into a disagreement and stuff. It transpired to words being exchanged and stuff, and a little bit of throwing stuff, little tantrum.
Joann: How old were you?
Caleb: I was 14.
Joann: What great?
Caleb: I was in the 7th.
Joann: This was at school? How did you actually get arrested?
Caleb: Because I wouldn't calm down and they called campus enforcement.
Joann: What happened after that incident?
Caleb: I went to DC for 14 days. The only reason I went for 14 days was because I had to take a drug test and I failed my drug test. That was my first offense.
Joann: You've had subsequent offenses. Can you give me a overview?
Caleb: It started with disorderly conduct. My second offense was possession of marijuana at school. My third offense was strong-arm robbery. My fourth offense was auto theft. All of them after that pretty much was auto theft.
Joann: All of them? How many total?
Caleb: 13 or 14.
Joann: Did you spend time in detention for every single offense?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Joann: We're going to back up a little bit. Tell me what the process is. You've had a number of different ...
LaShay: [inaudible 00:03:00].
Joann: Tell me what DC means.
Caleb: DC ...
LaShay: You ain't been arrested for no 13 auto burglaries.
Caleb: I ain't say 13. I said 13 offenses.
Joann: It doesn't matter if y'all whisper or not. I can still hear you.
Caleb: [inaudible 00:03:17].
LaShay: She asked you about offenses, not what have you done in your life.
Caleb: No, I said out of all my charges together it was 13 or 14 offenses.
LaShay: Not auto burglaries. She said how many auto burglaries.
Caleb: I ain't say no auto burglaries. I said auto thefts.
LaShay: She said auto thefts. You have not been arrested for 13 auto thefts.
Caleb: I ain't say 13 auto thefts.
LaShay: Yes you did.
Joann: Out of the 13 it was [crosstalk 00:03:37].
Caleb: I had other charges.
LaShay: One auto theft.
Caleb: No, four auto thefts. I had four auto thefts. Some of them was for violation of probation. All of them, it was four offenses that was separate from auto theft, four auto thefts, and the rest of them are pretty much violation of probation.
Joann: That's different. That's different, because violation of probation, it's not picked up like an original offense.
Caleb: It's really the offense that you left on.
Joann: Tell me a little bit about the process. The first time you said you spent about 14 days in detention. What I want to do, and since you've had a number of offenses, I'm going to ask you just on average how the process worked. What happens? What happened for you when you get booked, you have an intake interview? Tell me what happens when you get arrested. They take you to-
Caleb: When you first come into booking, you going to take off your clothes and you going to go take a shower and they going to put you into they clothes. Then you going to take a assessment test to make sure you ain't suicidal or nothing. Then they going to take you to the back. Depending on what time of day it is, they'll give you a tray. You got 24 hours to go to court. You go to court. More than likely if it's on a weekend you're going to go there Monday. If it's the day of a week, you going to go the next day prior to it. After you go to court, you going to come back from court. He going to tell you if you being released or if you being sent to a facility or not. Then after court your youth counselor going to come see you and tell you exactly what's going on and how the process going to go.
Joann: At what point do you get to see an attorney?
Caleb: You going to get to see an attorney. It depends on what type of time you facing. If you facing time like just about to be there for a minute, like sometimes they do judicial court, like if you going to be there for a minute, they have to schedule it while you there, but if you ain't going to be there for a minute, they'll schedule it after you leave.
Joann: What do you have to do to leave?
Caleb: Just don't be in trouble and do what they say to do.
Joann: During your time in detention?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Joann: You never actually get a chance to talk to an attorney before your first hearing?
Caleb: No, I ain't.
Joann: Did you-
Caleb: In some cases I have, but they ain't been for the charges I came on. They'll probably be for old pending charges. It going to get backed up. Just dealing with a charge that you came on, you probably ain't going to see a attorney right then off that charge. If you about to get shipped to a facility or somewhere, if you about to be here for a little minute, they'll schedule it so you can go on get your pending charge out the way.
Joann: Tell me about your relationship. The times that you actually did speak with an attorney, tell me about that. Who was the person? How did you talk to them? Where did you talk to them? You can say his name. If you know it, tell me.
Caleb: It was [Dorsey 00:06:59] at the Youth Detention Center. He was very cooperative with me. He talked about what I did, asked me did I do it or not, and tried to help me, if I didn't do it, if he believed I didn't do it, tried to help me get in a better situation than I was.
Joann: When and where did you actually get a chance to talk to him?
Caleb: They going to arrange in the visitation room you can talk to them. He going to have a paper saying what you done did or whatever, or what the crime is that you committed, and you can talk about it then. He can try to talk to your counselor and stuff to try to get the best opportunity for you.
Joann: What's your relationship like with the ... You talked about a youth counselor. Tell me what your relationship is, particularly with somebody like ...
Caleb: The thing, I had two different counselors. One started off with a counselor. I started off with one counselor, but when the crimes got bigger, they sometimes transferred counselors. It's different counselors for different things. I had a substitute counselor one time. My counselor that I had at first for the smaller offenses, she was all right, but she didn't work hard for me and just go hard with me like the counselor I had the second time when I started doing bigger things, doing bigger offenses.
Joann: At any point would the school enforcement officer, or at any point when you came to the court, did anybody ever tell you what your rights were? Did you know what your rights were?
Caleb: No. 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.
Joann: What's the longest amount of time that you've had to be in detention?
Caleb: Five months.
Joann: That was something you were in detention and then they sentenced you to be here?
Caleb: They sent me to a facility. I got a dishonorable discharge from the facility because I was acting up. I was at the facility for two months. Then they made me come back and serve three months at the detention center.
Joann: Back at the first detention center?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Joann: For that longest period of time that you served, what was the, they call it a disposition instead of a sentence? What do they call it? What's the legal term?
Speaker 4: It wouldn't be disposition because disposition is [inaudible 00:09:44].
Joann: What crime was that for?
Caleb: I don't recall.
LaShay: I think it was the time you stole a vehicle, wasn't it?
Caleb: No. I'm talking about East Mississippi, when I went to East Mississippi.
LaShay: You tested positive for marijuana [crosstalk 00:10:01].
Caleb: I don't know what the charge was I went on.
LaShay: Because it was my car that time. You remember when you took my car?
Caleb: No, that was when I was with Kirk. That was auto theft.
LaShay: No, they changed it to the unauthorized use of a vehicle because you took my car [crosstalk 00:10:14].
Caleb: I'm talking about that stuff when the police had beat me up.
Joann: Tell me about that part. When would the police beat you up? What happened?
Caleb: Me and another juvenile, we had got caught in a stolen car, and the K-9 and stuff had started following us, because the other juvenile decided to take them on a high-speed chase. I was the passenger. When they caught us, he decided to drive the car into a creek. He ain't drive it all the way into a creek. He drove it over, you know the dead end sign? He crashed into that, but we ain't go in.
I got out, I started running. The dogs and stuff was chasing after us and stuff. It was just getting nighttime. I had jumped over a fence. The creek was big. It was full of water because it had rained. I had fell in the water. I had on some heavy boots and stuff, and my feet had got stuck at the bottom with the mud and stuff. The police had told me that I got five seconds to get out the water or he was going to come in, and when he come in, he get wet, it ain't going to be nice. I was back there in the dark where couldn't no other police see me and stuff.
The two police officers that came back there and stuff, they started shooting at Kirk, because he got away. After I jumped out the car, he drove the car all the way into the creek, and he climbed out the sunroof and he jumped over the car and used the car to go over the creek. They started shooting at him.
Once I saw they started shooting at him, I saw it was real. I told them I surrender. I started coming toward them and stuff. As soon as I came towards them, they knocked me down, started beating me. I had to get stitches under my eyebrow and stuff. They beat me real bad. I had jumped over a fence. They put me in handcuffs. I kept on slipping because it was wet outside. Every time I slipped they would beat me up and stuff. They told me if I fall one more time they were going to tase me.
The gate I had jumped over, they had put me in handcuffs, so I couldn't just jump it regular. They told me that I had to throw my body over it, so I had cut my stomach up a little bit. They told me I had to throw my body over it, so I threw my body over it. My shoes had got caught. My shoestrings had got caught on the gate and stuff. They cut my shoes, cut my clothes and stuff. Once I got over to the other police officers and stuff, they had put me in back of a police car. By the time I was in the back of a police car, I was real bloody and muddy. They had called the paramedics.
When they called the paramedics, they had asked me to get out the car so they could examine me and stuff. I told the paramedic I couldn't feel my legs. I was about to black out at the time. They asked the police what happened and stuff. The police told them that we ran into a tree, which that didn't happen, so I started telling them that what happened, the police beat me up and all that stuff.
They took me straight to detention instead of taking me downtown, when they were supposed to investigate me further. Usually they would, but because they knew they was going to have to explain everything that happened. Before they took me to the DC, they took me to the emergency room first.
It was two girls that were with us. They got caught too, but they went downtown and they ended up getting off and stuff, talking about it. They couldn't get out the car, because they ain't know what was about to go down. He just went on a high-speed chase and all that stuff, which I did too. I ain't know he was going to take them on a high-speed chase. I wouldn't have mind, but ...
Joann: Did he get caught?
Caleb: Yeah, he got caught five days later because they set the girls up and made the girls text him on Facebook and stuff. They came in the hotel room we was at, beat them up real bad, ran some water, put him in the water. He came with his neck all messed up. He come in thinking that I snitched on him because I'm the only one in jail. He come in thinking I snitched on him, but the girls, they snitched. They all outside. I was witnessing the whole thing, them talking to the police, they ain't even in handcuffs. They telling them everything that happened, even though they knew everything that was going on, they was aware the car was stolen and all this stuff, but they chose to go along with the ride. Didn't none of them know that he was going to gone on a high-speed chase though.
Joann: Did you ever get a chance to talk to an attorney about your side of the story?
Caleb: Yeah, I talked to the attorney and I talked to Southern Poverty about it and stuff. It really ain't nothing that could be done. It was my word against theirs, and they ain't going to more than likely believe somebody that was in a stolen car over somebody that got a badge.
Joann: How old were you?
Caleb: I was 16.
Joann: How much time did you have to spend for that particular ... They would charge you with something specific and you had to ...
Caleb: That time I only be 45 because the judge cut a agreement with me if I went to the back and didn't get any write-ups, I wouldn't have to do my whole 90, but he gave me 90 originally.
Joann: You were able to 45 on good behavior?
Caleb: Matter of fact, I did 60, because I had ended up getting one write-up, but my counselor, she had just gave me 10 extra days, then she [inaudible 00:15:10]. They ended up not giving me the whole 90 though. When I went back to court, the judge that was there, it wasn't that judge no more. It was a lady judge. She was a little bit more lenient with me.
Joann: There are a couple different judges that do ...
Caleb: No, it was two judges. I had a woman and a man. I heard it's three judges.
Joann: That time you did the 60 days, was that all in detention or did you get sent out to a different facility?
Caleb: That time it was all in detention.
Joann: Describe what it's like when you're in the detention center.
When you're in the detention center, the officers run everything. If you want to have a smooth, easy time, you respect the officers, get up under the officers. You want your time to be hard, act hard and do whatever you want to do, and they going to give you a run for your money. You going to wish you was at home.
Joann: Did your behavior change over the times based on your observations? Tell me what it was like. Did you start out always respecting the officers? Tell me about each of your subsequent times.
Caleb: I ain't start off respecting the officers. When I first came, I was rebellious towards the officers. It wasn't no rebellion like just straight rebellious towards officers, straight disrespect towards a certain officer. I'd kick my cell, because they wouldn't let us out. They'd leave us in the cell for a long time. One time they left us in the cell for a whole day and we ain't come out none. They gave us our trays up under doors and stuff, left our breakfast trays in there, lunch trays in there, dinner tray. They left all that stuff in there. They ain't come get our trays until they gave us midnight snack and stuff, so we were kicking the cell.
When I was young, really being a [crab dummy 00:16:58], flooding cells and stuff. As I got older, I thought, "See, this ain't going to work. It going to still end up to the same thing." When I was younger, it was a little bit more harder then, because it's a different pod, but also they set you on the pod that they feel like that you could adapt to.
Say you young or even you older and they feel like you ain't strong enough or your mind ain't strong enough, you easily manipulated or something, they got B pod, they got A pod. They had C pod. They just started using that. It's really two girl pods. It be way more boys than it be girls. B pod, they call that the baby pod, that's for the beginners and stuff, people that don't come there often and stuff, people that's there for petty crimes, stuff like disturbing family peace and stuff. I was on that pod. That's what I started off on because I had a petty crime.
They felt like I was trying to act hard. Whoever they felt like trying to act hard they feel like they got to target, get that out the picture right there. That's what he told me, the officer, the head officer, supervising officer. He came in my cell. I had asthma, but I used to do stuff, like say I would have an asthma attack [inaudible 00:18:21] so they got tired of coming and doing little stuff, just stuff so I could get out get out of my cell and stuff.
He came in there. I had hit the intercom, laid on it feeling like I was having an asthma attack, breathing hard. He came in there, he was like, "Get up." I was like, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe." I used to try to go to the emergency room and stuff. They'll take you to the emergency room if you doing real bad. He told me, "Get up." I told him I wasn't getting up, I said, "Because I can't breathe." He had snatched me up and he had hit me in my chest. I was like, "You can't do that. That's illegal," and all that stuff. He had his officers covering up the door so the camera couldn't see him. He was like, "Who going to see it?" At that time I realized it was real.
Then I still was rebelling a little bit, so at that time he saw he couldn't get to me because he couldn't just beat me up bad. He had to do something where it couldn't bruise. He saw he couldn't just get to me like that. He started using inmates against inmates.
The older inmate, A pod, that's where your strong-arm robbery and auto theft, house burglary, people in for fighting and all that stuff at school, that's where they at and stuff. He called that his big boy pod. That's where the people that been there for a long time, they know how everything works. They don't treat them like they treat us, because they know that they going to turn up and stuff. They know it's going to be [inaudible 00:19:39] calm down and stuff. On A pod I seen they had to call the SWAT down there. That's the first time. I'd never seen the SWAT called in DC.
That's when he had told me, he was like, "You kick on the cell again," he was like, "I'm going to ... " He was like, "Pack your stuff up." He was like, "I'm about to take you to A pod." He said, "I want you to kick on them doors." He said, "When it's time to let everybody out," he said, "I'm going to just let you out," and he said, "I'm going to keep all them boys in they cells," so that way everybody will gang up on me, like, "Oh, he the one that got us in this predicament, then he still get to come out." He said, "When I do let them out," he said, "I ain't letting you go in your cell." He said, "I'm just going to go up in the tower like I ain't see nothing."
I was like, "Oh this is real." It can happen because I done seen it happen. He done sent boys over there. When I started getting to the A pod and all them boys start going to real jail, I got to A pod, he was sending little kids over there for us to scare and all that stuff like that. That's how they run they jail. They use inmates against inmates.
Joann: Does the housing look different from A pod to B pod to C pod? Are you all in your own single cells or are there group dorms?
Caleb: No, you all in your own single cell. A pod look a little bit more like a grown pod. B pod and C pod, they all [inaudible 00:20:57]. A pod, it look like jail for real.
Joann: C pod is typically where the girls are?
Caleb: Girls on C and D right there. Girls on D pod. The boys right there. They just started boys being on C pod. They started everybody, as soon as you come in you got to be on C pod before you go to court. If you been there for a long time they ain't even going to make you go on C pod, they going to let you go straight to A pod or something, if they know your face.
Joann: That's all the detention center. Tell me a little bit about your time when you had to go to facility. Where was it?
Caleb: East Mississippi, in Meridian.
Joann: What's the name of the facility?
Caleb: East Mississippi State Hospital. It's for drug and alcohol use and stuff.
Joann: There was a treatment?
Caleb: Yeah. I had failed my drug test and they sent me there for 30 days. You got to stay on a certain level and all this stuff to honorable discharge. I ended up staying over 40-something days, and then I got tired of it, so I made them want to kick me out. I threw their TV over. I had seen the officer coming to get some kids for my county anyway, because they had got dishonorable discharge. I was like, "This is my chance to go on and get back to the detention center. I'm tired of being up here." I threw their TV over and they were like, "Go on and take him with y'all." They took me back to the detention center. My counselor was like, "You know since you ain't even finish this honorably, you got to go on and do the 90 days, three months."
Joann: What kind of programs were you on?
Caleb: That's the only facility. They ain't never send me to ... My whole time being there the rest of the time, the detention center, that's the only facility I ever been to.
Joann: Do you have any sort of education or any kind of programming when you're at the detention center?
Caleb: Yeah, you do, but I ain't going to lie, I was [inaudible 00:22:45] a lot of time, get suspended from school in DC and stuff, sleeping in and stuff. You sleep in, you got to stay in your cell the whole day. I was trying to sleep my time off. I could sleep a long time.
Joann: Tell me a little bit about school, because obviously this all started-
Caleb: School, I'm saying, it's really a joke. It's a joke. They going to have you doing crossword puzzles and you can play little games and stuff. It's two teachers that really teach, really want kids to get a education, but the rest of the teachers, they come there and get a check, "Y'all do what y'all want to do. Just don't touch the computer."
They give you iPads. They had iPads, but they made us stop using them because we started hacking into the iPads, putting our [inaudible 00:23:37], texting people on the outside, sending pictures and stuff. They was like, "Oh, we got to cut that out," because people started ... Kids, they was getting beat up and stuff by the officers and stuff. They start telling they parents and stuff. They'll send a picture. Southern Poverty came down and asked questions. I was ready to talk. They loved me. I was ready to talk.
Joann: That's the school in the detention center. Tell me about your school. Are you in school right now?
Caleb: I'm not currently in school. I'm working towards a GED program.
Joann: Out here in the community?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Joann: You have how much time? You talked about your school that's not your actual school, your school district, where you go to school. Where is that, where you went before you talked about school?
Caleb: Starting from middle school?
Joann: Yeah [crosstalk 00:24:31].
Caleb: I was going to Chastain Middle School. When I told you about the possession of marijuana charge, after I got done serving my time in DC, they made me go to the alternative school, Capital City Alternative School.
Joann: That's where you've been pretty much?
Caleb: Yeah. I ain't been able to finish ever since. Ever since the 8th grade I ain't been able to get out. Once you get in, it hard to get out. I started with just a calendar year. I had to do a calendar year, but it ended up being over a year and a half.
Joann: In terms of your grade level, where you would be, it's just path the 8th grade, 9th grade?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Joann: How old were you when you started your GED program?
Caleb: I just started my GED program in September.
Joann: When did you turn 17?
Caleb: December the 10th.
Joann: Tell me a little bit about what's going on with you now. Do you have any current offenses pending? Are you on parole? We're not talking about that?
Caleb: I don't want to talk about that.
Joann: Cool. Tell me about the times that you weren't in ... Did you have community-based probation at any point for any of your offenses? Obviously you said you had violated-
Caleb: They ain't never made me do no community service or nothing.
Caleb: Oh yeah. I thought they was talking about picking up trash and stuff.
Joann: No. Tell me about AOP.
Caleb: AOP, it's a program for juveniles. After school they would pick me up for Capital City. They'd pick me up. You go to the program. It's at the medical mall in Jackson Hinds County. You go and you do your homework and stuff. They feed you a snack. They'll take you on little field trips and stuff, and all that stuff. Every month you got to take a drug test with them. To not have to go back and all that stuff, you pass your drug test and do your homework and all that stuff.
Joann: That's what you said a couple of times you got taken on because you had violated parole? Is that what it was?
Caleb: My violation of probation wasn't never failing no drug test. My violation of probation was coming back, other charges. Even getting arrested is violation of probation.
Joann: It was new charges typically?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am. I was getting charged with violation of probation and the charge I'm coming in with.
Joann: Your mom's here with us. Tell me a little bit about your family, siblings, and where you've been living this whole time when you're not in detention.
Caleb: With my mother.
Joann: Do you have siblings?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am. I have a younger brother and a older sister.
Joann: I know she's sitting right next to you, but tell me a little bit about your relationship with your mom.
Caleb: We've got a good relationship. We communicate well. Everything in the family we pretty much can talk about. That's with everybody in the house.
Joann: You have to do your big brother duties?
Caleb: We all just stay out of each other way really. We argue and stuff, but we love each other. We just be staying out of each other way.
Joann: You have extended family here?
Caleb: Yeah. I got a older brother and a younger sister on my daddy's side.
Joann: You get to see them?
Caleb: Yeah, I get to see them a lot.
Joann: That's cool. Back when you actually were able to have conversations with your attorney, you said he would try to get the whole story from you. Did he ever explain the court process to you? Is that how you learned the ropes, or did you just have to figure it out on your own?
Caleb: A little bit I figured it out on my own, a little bit they told me. They never me everything though. They never told me how everything was going to go.
Joann: Did he ever ask you what you wanted or give you a chance to ...
Caleb: Yeah, he asked me. I had started to work at a period of time and stuff, doing good, trying to get my life back on track and stuff, and he used the working and all that to vouch for me in court and stuff. It wasn't no asking what type of term you looking at and stuff. That's up to the counselors and the judge. I couldn't do nothing like, because if they asked me I would've told them to let me go.
Joann: Did you ever sign a plea to do something more quickly or ...
Caleb: Yeah. I just went on and signed guilty, because we ain't about to ... If you come to DC, if you come on a charge, you going to serve time for a charge period, so pleading guilty, pleading innocent, by going to a trial, all they going to do is just make the charge be pending for a longer and longer time, because they can't prove you did it. Even if they can't prove you did it, you still got to serve time for it, because you going to serve your time before you can go to court about whether you was innocent or not. Once you get out, all they going to tell you is whether you were innocent or not. They ain't about to prove it. It's just going to be they word against yours. You going to serve that term, period.
Joann: The attorney can't help you?
Caleb: All he can do is try to get you in a better situation, but you could not been [inaudible 00:29:57] and you still going to serve the term.
Joann: Even if you didn't plea?
Caleb: Even if you ain't plea, you about to serve the time, because you going to serve your time first before you do anything, before paperwork and all that. You'll serve your time. It's supposed to be the opposite way around, to me.
Joann: Did they count time served before the trials? Do they count that towards your overall time served?
Caleb: I ain't never went to trial. I just plead guilty. I plead innocent when I first started out, but I realized it wasn't doing nothing but just making the charge pend when you get out and you done with it, because once you done served your term, it's over with. You pleading guilty, all that's doing is just making you have to go to court more. If you is doing something out there like smoking and stuff, that's making you red flag and so when you come to court they can just drug test you and throw you back in there [inaudible 00:30:45]. They can't make you serve a term after you done served the term.
Joann: Describe to me what it's like to be in a courtroom. What kind of court hearings did you experience?
Caleb: I've experienced outside of the detention center and while in the detention center.
LaShay: [inaudible 00:31:02].
Caleb: I'm talking about I done experienced leaving the DC and going home and coming back to the detention center to go to court, and I done experienced while being in the DC and going to court.
Joann: You had a hearing to determine if you were going to stay in detention or not, a detention hearing?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am. The ones that was outside of the detention center though, they were pretty much just followups, like drug tests and ...
Caleb: Yeah, adjudications, just to determine whether they going to throw it, or even if they did something about it, after you done left they can't take you back to jail for it.
Joann: When you have an adjudication hearing, who's in there and who's standing up for you?
Caleb: Your counselor's going to be in there. She going to be on the right-hand side of you, your attorney's going to be on the left-hand side of you, and the judge and the bailiff. That's pretty much it, and the counselors in the back and stuff.
LaShay: Guardian ad litem.
Caleb: Oh yeah, the guardian ad litem.
Joann: Tell me about the guardian ad litem. What is that person there for?
LaShay: Serving two roles, the attorney and the guardian ad litem.
Joann: You don't have a separate ...
Caleb: I don't know. I heard them say the guardian ad litem. I know my parent or my mama or my grandma would be right there beside the guardian ad litem. I never did knew what they role was though. They ain't never talked to me in there.
Joann: Is the guardian ad litem separate from your public defender?
Caleb: I don't know. I just know they be right there on the same side. Then what's the lady that ... On the right-hand side of my judge there's going to be another lady.
LaShay: That's the clerk.
Caleb: The clerk.
Joann: If your mom wasn't here giving you pointers, you wouldn't really know?
Caleb: No, I wouldn't know. What I told you, that's all I would know, because they ain't never talked to me or never told me what them people's supposed to be doing.
Joann: Then the person that was doing your intake counseling and stuff, you said you had a couple of different people who were your youth court counselors?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am. I had two different youth court counselors. My overall counselor pretty much was my last counselor.
Joann: Did they explain to you what your role was or were you encouraged to just tell them the whole story?
Caleb: My second counselor, she pretty much explained to me the process. That's when I started realizing how everything worked. She told me how everything was going to go, how it going to work, what the judge going to do. She just gave me the nitty gritty. She told me pretty much, "The judge going to do this. I'm going to try to shoot for this, but let's try to at least get you in a facility or something so he won't just throw the whole three months at you."
Joann: Were you ever advised that you had a right to remain silent and you didn't until you spoke to your attorney?
Caleb: Are you talking about the police's?
Caleb: Nah, they ain't never read me no Miranda rights. That stuff they be saying on TV, I ain't never did that in my life. They just always arrest me and take me to DC or take me downtown.
Joann: You pretty much have to do the intake.
Speaker 4: When you met with your youth counselor, did you ever meet with your youth court counselor and with your lawyer?
Caleb: No, they always be separate. I don't think they can even be together. He'll see me at a certain time. She'll tell me when he coming. They'll call me and he'll see me at a certain time. He'll ask me how many days my counselor tells me I got to serve. He'll try to be on my side, be like, "Well we'll try and get you this." If it ain't looking good he'll tell me, go on and tell me, "It look like you going to probably have to do that 90 days, but we going to try to talk to the judge why he should reduce your sentence," or something, like, "You doing good at that, so you ... ," like that.
Speaker 4: When you talk to your lawyer, does your lawyer talk to you about what his argument's going to be as to why you don't have to do the 90 days?
Caleb: Yeah, he done did that a couple times. He done did it three or four times. We sit down for a good minute. Right out he'll tell me, "Tell me some things that's going on in your life right now that I can tell the judge that'll be understandable so I'm going to tell him a good argument.
Joann: Go ahead.
Speaker 4: Has there ever been a time that you met with the youth court counselor that your counselor said, "You don't have to talk to me. You can wait," because what you say to the youth court counselor, he or she might tell the judge, so it could be used against you?
Caleb: I don't know, because pretty much my counselor seemed she was on my side. She pretty much seemed like that she was for my best interests, so she never came across to me like that.
Joann: Every single time you were booked, you always spoke to the youth counselor before you even met-
Caleb: No no no. I waited until I went to court. You got to wait until you go to court first. Then a habitual offender, when you go to court, sometimes they'll just come on they own time because they know you going to be back there for a minute.
Joann: You mean the attorney or the counselor?
Caleb: The counselor. They ain't going to go no week or nothing without seeing you. You going to see them in court for sure because they got to be there in court, but they might not come talk to you after court because they know you going to be back there for a little minute, so, "I've got plenty of time to talk to him. Let me go on and get my people that probably going to be here for 14 to seven days out the way," and stuff.
Joann: At any point did you ever talk to an attorney before you talked to the youth counselor?
Caleb: No. She always told me when the attorney would come and all that stuff. I ain't never talked to him before I talked to her. I usually talk to him a day before I go to court or something. I ain't never talk to him on a detention hearing. The first thing you come in, that's a detention hearing. I ain't never talked to a attorney before the detention hearing.
Joann: You'd never actually spoken to an attorney before your first hearing?
Caleb: No. When you come in, the judge tell you whether you going to be hold or release. I don't know if you ... Am I supposed to talk to the attorney? I don't know if I should. If I was, I wasn't.
Speaker 4: Was there a lawyer in your detention hearing?
Caleb: Yeah. It was a lawyer in my detention hearing, but he ain't talk to me before then. It always been a lawyer. Anytime I went to court it always been the same people I see in the same court.
Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:37:29] understanding of privilege. Does he have an understanding of with the youth court counselor, everything he says is going to the judge versus [crosstalk 00:37:40].
Joann: Technically, whatever, I'm not an attorney, I'm not going to advise you in any sort of way, you have other attorneys, you've got the SPLC to tell you what your rights are, but that's one of the things I'm just trying to figure out how much you know about what your rights are, because technically speaking, you shouldn't have to talk to anybody without the presence of an attorney. You shouldn't have to.
LaShay: That's not the youth court [crosstalk 00:38:06] period.
Speaker 4: When you talk to your youth court counselor, do you think the things you tell your youth court counselor are going to be kept secret?
Caleb: I look at it like my lawyer. That's what I look at it like. My lawyer, she the one that always got the best for me and tried to put me in a better situation. She the one that would root for me. She probably the reason why I ain't in the most trouble I could be in. I could be way past what I'm in.
Joann: You've had a lot of different interactions, and obviously you've been in some situations where there's been some abuse, physical abuse, people who are supposed to be protecting you. Tell me a little bit about how this whole process makes you feel. How has it given you a perspective on who you are?
Caleb: How can I say it? It ain't messing with physical appearance right now or nothing, but I feel like I was violated that time and stuff. It made me feel a certain type of way about different authorities. Sometimes, some of them, they did the physical abuse, but some of them was rooting for the kids too. They didn't feel like they could take they matters in they own hands, but they was doing it. Some of them was doing it out of, "Man, this probably going to make them better," like tough love. It probably ain't legal, but I started to grow on them, like, "Oh man, they probably just doing it because they care about me and stuff." I started developing a relationship with them and stuff. I feel like they cared about me. I feel like they cared about me though.
Joann: Do you feel like you were given opportunities to better yourself?
Caleb: Yeah, in plenty of situations, but I ain't just take it and run with it like I was supposed to, because I started ... Three months, the first time it felt like a lifetime, but after going a couple times it started just going like this and I started adapting to it. Just like I told you about the A pod, they give them more privileges and stuff, I started getting on their status, like, "I'm out of my cell cleaning up. They bringing me food in and stuff." They started treating me like family. I ain't there no more so I can say, it was officers I was cool with using they phone and stuff. I ain't going to say any names or nothing. They started just treating me like they know me, because they been knowing me over the past two years and stuff. They know me and stuff.
Joann: How long ago was it that you were released from your last at juvenile?
Caleb: November of 2016.
Joann: Right around the time that you started taking your GED program?
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
LaShay: Uh-uh (negative).
Caleb: No, not November.
LaShay: September. August, end of August.
Caleb: Before August.
LaShay: Yeah, right before September.
Joann: November was your birthday, right?
Caleb: No, December's my birthday.
Speaker 4: Maybe you can talk about from his perspective what things could've happened at different points that would've kept him from going back.
LaShay: What could the detention center have done?
Joann: It's okay.
LaShay: What could they have done to help you to maybe stop you from-
Caleb: They could've went on and sent me to Oakley, because Oakley, I wouldn't have wanted to go back after that. I ain't never did nothing over five months. Oakley, I know that's six months a year. Any time you were bailed, your term start over. I knew I was going to have complications because I had, even just being there, even though I was good with them, at a certain, it going to be a couple weeks I was like, "Man, I can't. I just want to snap out," something like that. I probably would've been able to get my temper under control and stuff. I would've been able to submit to authority because I would be like, "Man, I'm ready to go home and my time starting over every time I get in trouble."
Joann: Did they ever offer you angry management or behavior therapy class or programs or counseling or any of that?
Caleb: No, ma'am. My counselor, she was talking about Brentwood one time, but it never went into play.
Joann: Talking about what one time?
Caleb: Brentwood Behavioral Health.
LaShay: Your Marion counselor.
Caleb: Yeah. That's usually [inaudible 00:42:41].
LaShay: No, they in the courtroom. They work through the youth court as well.
Caleb: You can't be talking on this thing.
Joann: That's okay. Oakley, why was that all of a sudden on the table?
Caleb: Because they just got up under a thing where they can't hold juveniles over 21 days, so I beat the 21-day standard. You can't stay in the actual facility over 21 days, so I just played that role until my 22nd day and they had to release me.
Speaker 4: I'm just curious, even from your first time going in, what do you think the system could've done with your initial contact that would've kept you from ever going back?
Caleb: I had probably stayed longer the first time, I probably wouldn't come back, but I had only stayed 14 days.
Joann: When you were arrested the second time, was it also a school arrest? Tell me ...
Caleb: Yeah, the second time was a school arrest too.
Joann: The third?
Caleb: School arrest. The first couple times, that was pretty much involving school.
Joann: It was 14 days the first time and it was a little bit longer the second time because it was [crosstalk 00:44:01].
Caleb: For a good little minute my couple times going in, I ain't had to do nothing over 21. I just was going 21. When you first start coming, it going to be 21. I normally probably had to do three months and five. I did five months one time. I had to do probably about four or five, three months, five or four. The other one was 45, 21, like that.
Joann: Do you remember which charge it was, what the charge was for the first time you had to do more than 21?
Caleb: Disorderly conduct, because my principal at the alternative school I was going to was cool with the youth system. I had made a comment before I left, I said, "I ain't about to go down there and do nothing but 21." She said, "I'm going to make it my personal business to make sure you do over 21." I seen her come down there and some other stuff, and I did over 21.
Joann: Because your principal came down?
Caleb: Yeah. She knew some people down there. She knew the judge and all them. She made sure that I did over 21 just because.
Joann: When you do over 21, did they ever do any sort of programs?
Caleb: Not for me. I told you I went to that one program, East Mississippi.
Joann: That was for [inaudible 00:45:17].
Caleb: Yes, ma'am.
Speaker 4:Is there anything of any of the services that you ever did respond to that you felt like actually helped you?
Caleb: I felt like that when I was taking my medication in detention when I was there for long periods of time, it did help me.
Caleb: Because I had the marijuana out of my system, so I was taking my medication on a regular basis, for 45 days or three months, 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.
Joann: What was your diagnosis?
Caleb: Depression, PTSD, conduct disorder.
Joann: Did you ever have a chance to do-
LaShay: [inaudible 00:46:11].
Joann: Did you ever have a chance to talk to any counselors, any mental health counselors at any time when you were taking your medication while you were in detention?
Caleb: Yeah. My Marion counselor had came up there one time. They came up there one time. I was going to go if I was outside anyway, but my mama made sure they came up there. They came up there one time. I had my session, my regular session. Other than that, no ma'am.
Joann: It was just one time in a period?
Caleb: That was a one-time thing. They supposed to come on a regular basis.
Joann: You never had any group therapy or any other kind of ...
Caleb: No, ma'am.
Joann: Is there anything that we didn't talk about today that were expected to talk about or that you wanted me to ask you?
Caleb: I had wanted you to ask about the food.
Joann: Tell me about the food.
Caleb: They could feed them kids a whole lot better. A whole lot better than how they feed them. The breakfast, it don't consider really nothing. They'll have some cereal, but they'll give you one pack of sugar. It ain't got no sugar in there or nothing. They'll give you some milk. Then lunch, it'll be skimpy, real skimpy. Dinner be all right.
Joann: What kind of recreation do you get?
Caleb: You'll get to go out and you'll get to play basketball and stuff. You can go out there for a hour or a hour and a half, depending on how the behavior is of the pod and stuff. On the weekend, they'll let you stay out for a couple hours and stuff.
Joann: Did they ever put you in restraints or make you go into solitary?
Caleb: Yeah. You supposed to be able to get up and walk around the pod and stuff, go to whatever table you want to and stuff. They be making their own rule, like you get up without permission, you got to give them 30 minutes to an hour in your cell. Say you'll cuss or something, you probably going to be in your cell for the rest of the night. While everybody else out having rec, watching TV and stuff, you got to hang it up. Your night over. Just anything. It's different people though. A pod, they ain't going to come at them about no cussing or nothing, because they got more respect for them.
Then one time, this is when I was on B pod, I had told the officer, because the officer, when he wanted to go on his break and he ain't have nobody to relieve him, so he had told us that we had to go up early, we had to lock up in our cell just so he could go get his food for his break. I told him it wasn't fair, I wasn't going up. I sat at the table. It's steel tables. I clenched my hand up under the table and I firmed my feet down. They gave me a opportunity, they said, "Either you get up, we can do this the easy way or the hard way." One of them grabbed my arm, other one grabbed my other arm. [inaudible 00:49:27]. I can't handle these grown men, so I'm using all my strength. They snatched me off the table.
My hands, they done healed pretty much now, but all this right here was cut up, bloody and stuff. They called the nurse and stuff, made up lies, talking about what happened and stuff, talking about that I was trying to hit guards and stuff. I ain't hit no guard. They ain't even take me to the emergency room. They just gave me some Neosporin and some Band-aids. They was real deep cuts. One of them had ended up getting infected and stuff. They ain't even take me to the emergency room, real bloody situation.
Joann: Did they restrain?
Caleb: Yeah, they restrained me. They done restrained me a bunch of time. They restrained me. They restrained me. They going to restrain, you rebel. It going to happen. I just got tired of having it.
Joann: When I say restrain, did they restrain you with shackles or with any kind of-
Caleb: Yeah. They left me in my cell one time with handcuffs on all the way until 12 o'clock at night because I was kicking on the cell and stuff, banging on the cell, telling everybody to turn up. They had pulled me out of the cell and all that stuff. I had flooded the cell. It was a big mess. We had made a waterfall, all type of stuff.
They had came in there. I was wrestling with guards. They came in my cell trying to bogart. He stayed. The supervisor done come in there. He stayed. He going to come in, he going to have his two officers sitting outside the door, because I had the same cell every time I went back. I made sure I pretty much had the same cell. It was right there by the camera. It was right there by the camera and stuff. That way I could lay back and watch TV. I had the only cell I could watch TV in. He came, he was like, "Get your stuff." He was like, "Get your stuff." He was like, "You moving cells." I got upset about that because that was my favorite cell while I was in there and stuff, I could watch TV and stuff.
I told him I wasn't moving. I laid down in bed. [inaudible 00:51:17] lay down on the bed. He came over there and he snatched my mattress from up under me, so by this time I'm on steel. I'm hot, I'm on the steel. That's when I had started wrestling with the guard, like, "Get up off me." That's when he pulled the handcuffs off, put me in handcuffs. I was trying to beat on the thing with my feet and stuff. He kept me in handcuffs all the way until 12 o'clock at night.
Joann: What was the longest time that you were ever shut in your cell without getting out?
Caleb: A day.
Joann: That happened more than once?
Caleb: No, it happened one time. That was for everybody though. Everybody stayed in there for a whole day after the SWAT had came down there, because them boys had ruined A pod and stuff. They had broke sprinklers. SWAT came down there, beat everybody up real bad. One dude was about to shock the warden but he was going to shock himself. They were like, "No." It was water all over the floor. He pulled out the taser, he was like, "I'm about to tase the floor." Then the SWAT people were like, "No." Can you pause it for a second?
Joann: Yeah. I just want to say thank you.
Caleb: I appreciate y'all too, so I can be able to get my side of the story out. I just feel like that maybe this might save another juvenile out there. They probably have better opportunity that someone else didn't have. It's some people that died behind this stuff. I ain't. I was lucky enough to make it out, but it's some people that were unfortunate enough they went the wrong route and they kept on. They thought that was a game, because the juvenile system allowed them to think it was a game. I just want to be able to save somebody like my younger brother or something. That's all I want to say.