Stories from a one-time visit to the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center could only be recorded with pencil and paper.

corey davis and anonymous dane county teens

A teen in the Juvenile Detention Center, who was there for his fourth time, told me, “I’m never coming back to this place.” He then went on to say, “Most of us will probably be back in here.” I asked him why he said this, when he had just said that he was never coming back. He replied, “Because I’m eighteen, so when I get out tomorrow and screw up again, I’ll be in prison.” Looking at my misunderstood expression, he said, “It’s just who we are,” and the others at the table agreed.

Others felt that even if they tried to change, they would stand out as criminals because of their race. A young woman told me:

“America is racist. Period. No matter how good you are, how much you doin’, you gonna’ get down played cause of your race. It’s like as if, I go into a store, the store clerk, they’re gonna’ follow me, but if a white girl go to a store, they’re not gonna’ follow her.”