The Digital Journalist
© Steve Liss
"No Place for Children: Voices From Juvenile Detention"


Rene, age 15, in a detention cell after three days of sniffing carburetor fluid. With nowhere else to detox, he ended up in Juvenile.

They've taken a toll on Rene. The drugs, that is. Lots of drugs, beginning at age 13. Doctors suspect that he has brain damage, probably because of drug use. So, his parents turned to an alphabet soup's worth of agencies for help. His mother's experience:

"I went all over the place and they wouldn't help me anywhere. I went to RAICES, to STACADA. They are more or less helping him at CAPS. We would be sent from doctor to doctor and then sent to run around looking for this or that paper. They would tell us that the rehabs here were voluntary. They said they couldn't make themselves responsible if he took off." So Rene's family turned to Juvenile to keep him away from drug-using friends. "It's not that we want to have him locked up," Rene's father says. "It's just so that he will see."

Now Rene is a familiar face at Juvenile. But don't ask him for details. The drugs have taken their toll.