Data and studies tell just part of the story. The best way to bring forward the needs of vulnerable girls, and to innovate long-term, effective solutions for girls and boys in detention is to listen. Our founder spent 15 years listening. What she heard from the girls and the juvenile justice authorities pointed to the need for early access to health care. There are many like Jessica and Sam. Jessica, 11 years old, had been sexually assaulted before coming into detention, but she was too frightened to tell the nurse. Her knuckles were raw from punching the cement walls because no one understood her physical and mental health needs. The facility isolated her, which is exactly the opposite of what she needed. Sam, a 17-year-old girl with a 9-month-old baby, has asthma, ADHD and depression. She said that both her parents used drugs and that their drug counselor raised her. Rail thin from hunger and wearing pink wrist shackles, one could easily miss the fact that she was five months pregnant.
Click for more stories from incarcerated girls Reylene and Latrice and from juvenile justice authorities, Ms. Muro, and Judge Romero, about the need for early access to health care.