In the United States, close to 61,000 young people eat, sleep, and go to school in juvenile detention facilities, also known as “court schools”. The outlook of a young person’s quality of life once entering the juvenile system is stark. Once a young person comes into contact with the juvenile justice system, young people, age 16 and under, are 26% less likely to finish high school by the age of 19, once they are arrested and detained. 70% of the juvenile population will return to the juvenile justice system by 19. African American and Latino youth compose nearly 60% of the juvenile population currently detained, even though they compose less than 30% of the overall population.
In this video, 19 year old Cristian, reflects on his time in the juvenile justice system. Suspended 50 times and expelled once throughout his elementary and secondary education, at 14, Cristian was arrested for second degree robbery and spent 2 months in San Mateo County Juvenile Hall. Cristian would return to juvenile hall for a total of 3 times, and was unable to graduate from high school. However, Cristian turned his chances around. Witness Cristian’s journey, and experience his perspective on the juvenile justice system’s “court school”.
A short film by Edgardo Antonio Jr.
Produced by New America Media with funding from Renaissance Journalism Center