Since when is being a teenager a crime?

from Reveal

Aug 7, 2021, 3:03:00 PM
The road on the mural diverges and Danny and Marie are walking and driving down different paths. Narration: Suddenly, their lives began to look drastically different.
A wide panel split in half with a portrait of each kid in their town - something that both introduces what they look like and sets the tone of the place. Narration: Danny and Marie live in two different towns that have a lot in common: they’re small, everyone knows everyone, and…  Danny: “There's literally nothing to do here. When kids get creative, they get in trouble.”  Label: Wyoming/South Dakota
A small map showing Wyoming and South Dakota side-by-side. Danny and Marie each stand on their respective state. Narration: Wyoming and South Dakota used to have something else in common: very high rates of incarcerating teens. Systems of justice vary widely by state, what some call "justice by geography."
Narration: Danny and Marie both got in some trouble. In July 2017, Danny got in a physical fight with his stepdad. In November 2020, Marie shoplifted from Walmart after smoking some weed.
The road on the mural diverges and Danny and Marie are walking and driving down different paths. Narration: Suddenly, their lives began to look drastically different.
Panel 6 Danny talks to police officers who are taking a report, but clearly look skeptical of his story. Narration: Even though he says his stepdad started the fight, Danny was placed in juvenile detention for two weeks before appearing in court. Danny: “He hit me first!” Panel 7 Marie talking to the audience, behind her, police officers talk to her mom. Narration: Marie laid low for the next few days, until the police called her mom. After a few meetings, they talked to Marie. Marie: “They believed that I could change, so they put me on something called diversion.”
Panel 8 Danny looks out the window from his room in the state facility. Narration: Danny was sent to a Wyoming state school for boys five hours away from his family. Panel 9 Marie across from the table from katie in her office, with papers in front of her Narration: Marie’s town had local resources, including a program that diverted her from the juvenile justice system. Instead, she would attend therapy and an evening "reporting center," a safe space at a local recreation facility.
Panel 10 Maybe Danny looking anxious in a classroom, like he’s having a panic attack? Narration: Danny had his own challenges, and the facility he was in only made it worse -- his anxiety, emotional challenges, physical health. He bounced back home and into probation. Then he had a panic attack in class, so he left to take a break. Panel 11 Marie drawing of the white board during evening reporting center showing different things that the girls felt bad about, like peer pressure. Narration: Through therapy, Marie found ways to say “no” to her friends’ bad ideas. Marie: “Therapy helped me find my inner self. It helps me make better decisions.”
Panel 12 Danny’s probation officer at school looming over him. Narration: When he got back to school, Danny’s probation officer was waiting for him. Probation officer: “Do you want to be like your father?” Narration: Danny’s biological father has been in and out of prison throughout his life. He felt like the officer was holding his father's history over his head. Panel 13: Marie laughing as she works on an art project at the evening center. Most importantly for Marie, she knew she wasn’t being punished—she was getting help.
Panel 14 Danny’s crouching down tying his shoelaces. Narration: Danny had his probation revoked for skipping school and was sent to a court-ordered treatment facility. This time, it was three hours from home and pretty harsh. Danny: "I got in trouble because my shoelaces weren't tied properly." Panel 15 Marie walking in front of a calendar of the week with “therapy” written onto the Tuesday and “reporting center” on Thursday. Narration: Marie settled into a routine and is working on the things that got her in trouble in the first place, like smoking and stealing. Marie: “I feel more in control now.”
Danny’s grandmother is sitting at the kitchen table with him, in front of dinner. Grandma: “It was devastating. That was the hardest couple years of my life.” Narration: She thinks kids make mistakes, and adults forget that the people they’re working with aren’t fully grown.

Listen to the Reveal episode: Juvenile (In)Justice

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