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Straight and Sober… Now


“I’m from over toward Missouri. My dad came to visit today and my mom is coming tomorrow with my great grandma. This is my first time in detention and I’ve only been here a week… I’m here for destruction of property. I had court on the 12th and I’ll be put in ACT (Adolescent Center for Treatment, a residential facility for youth with substance use problems) for 28 Days. I’ll go there but I have to wait for a bed to open up first. I have a theft case pending— a drug related paraphernalia charge. I was on probation when it happened. They revoked me and got me in here. They have me on intent to distribute ‘cause I had a quarter pound of marijuana. I was set up by this kid so one of his felonies would be removed. My parents thought I still had stuff but I didn’t, so they put a lock on my doors and then I punched a hole in my door and unlocked it so I could turn off my computer and my TV and then my mom called the police. She stuck with me in the past but this time she said she would call the police if I wasn’t straight. I am trying to prove to her I’ll stay clean… cause I don’t want to get into any more trouble. Now I’ve been clean for over four months.

“She stuck with me in the past but this time she said she would call the police if I wasn’t straight.”

I’m a sophomore… in the 10th grade, my grades are good I get A’s and B’s. My parents found paraphernalia… like an apple pipe. You can totally smoke out of it by putting a bowl in the top near the stem and cutting a hole in the side. When I get out I want to keep my job and test drive dirt bikes. My biological dad is how I got that job. I live with my grandparents now. I actually call my grandparent’s mom and dad… so whenever I say mom and dad I am talking about my grandparents, who I live with. I have no idea where my biological mom is. I haven’t seen her in over three years. When I was born my biological dad was put in jail for 22 years, he had a lot of drug related charges. He did 19 years total and was put on parole for life. My dad was a truck driver… my mom, a psychiatric nurse.”

– K.P. , age 16, Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center. Olathe, Kansas.



Juvenile In Justice is a Guggenheim award winning project by world renowned photographer Richard Ross to photograph and interview youth in juvenile detention centers across the U.S.Installments from the project appear bi-monthly on Bokeh.

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