Richard Ross
  • Richard Ross' book "Girls in Justice" documents juvenile females in detention facilities. Ross visited over 250 facilities in the US and the him images are accompanied by the girls own words. Pictured here: Young girl being finger-printed at a juvenile detention facility.
    Richard Ross
  • "I’m 8 months pregnant. … I was running away to my boyfriend’s in Scottsdale. … I got pregnant on purpose. We don’t believe in abortion. My only crime was running away. And I’ve been here more than nine times. … I was very selfish for not thinking of the baby. CPS says they’re going to take the baby away but I’m going to fight for her. … I was doing a lot of drugs when I was first pregnant but now I’ve been sober for 4 months. This unit is the drug treatment unit.” -C.M., age 16
    Richard Ross
  • "I've got a Measure 11 [charged as an adult]. My lawyer waits until the last minute to tell me anything. He said I was gonna be out when I'm 18, but that's in 36 days. I would take anything as long as I get out. My boyfriend is my co-defendant. He's why I'm here, but I don't blame him too much. He's 20. I've had PVs [probation violations] for smoking meth and drinking, but I've never been in here this long." - C.P., age 17
    Richard Ross
  • Correctional officers check out scissors to cut away any cloth a kid might be trying to hang herself with. Each pair is numbered, checked out at the beginning of each shift, and accounted for at the end of the day.
    Richard Ross
  • "I'm an ARY [at-risk youth]. Mom thought I was at risk. I didn't stay home. I hang out with my boyfriend and my best friends. But my mother blames everybody. She doesn't like it that I'm rude and not going to school. My charges are truancy, not staying at home, and being rude. I've been here 14 times. For what I've done I don't belong in a place like this, but I'm here." - C.J., age 16
    Richard Ross
  • "For a long time, I took pride in not prostituting. My last relapse, I started prostituting on my own. My mom and dad were both alcoholics. They owned a bar. I was left alone a lot. My mom was drunk when she found me on the street. I had run away. She attacked me and wouldn't let go. I punched her in the face. It wasn't that hard. My fiance's in prison. He's 37. I was on the street and he came back with blankets and food. We camped together. We were both in active addiction. He encouraged me to get my shit together. We stole for support. I was 14 when I met him. He was 33." - B.X., age 18
    Richard Ross
  • "I was at the packing plant for about 16 months. ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] had a big raid, lots of trucks and men with guns and helicopters. They deported most of the people, but kept some of us to go to court against the owners. They had a lot of minors working here. All of us were from the same little village in Guatemala. We live in houses that the company owns. I think they let me stay because of my baby." - R.T., age 16
    Richard Ross
  • Books are permitted only in the classrooms, not in the cells. The facility also serves as a non-lockdown shelter for abused children. The girls pictured at the back of the room in street clothes are seeking shelter and free to leave at will. They share the classroom with committed boys but are kept segregated.
    Richard Ross
  • "I have a 7-month-old son. He's with foster parents. Today was my first day seeing him in 6 months. My baby's dad was there. He makes me feel awful by supposing he is better than me. I've been in the system since I was 12. I was in and out of placement as a kid. My first time was two charges of breaking and entering and theft. I was sent to diversion after a month. But I just ran and ran and ran and ran." -E.E., age 17
    Richard Ross
  • “I ran away from placement. It was a group home with 65 kids. The first time I went to placement I was 11, for battery of a kid at school. … Mostly I want to go home. I have to finish my placement program first. I have a girlfriend. My parents are real Catholic. They say God doesn’t like you being with girls, but they’re glad that I do, because that way I won’t get pregnant. But God thinks I can do better with my life, and He knows I will do better.” — K.N., age 15
    Richard Ross