The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Juvenile speaks about price of freedom, cost of negative influence

By Coraima Lopez/reporter

Not wanting this lifestyle anymore and not knowing anything about himself, a juvenile from McFadden Ranch said he’s learned lessons while being locked up.

Being placed in McFadden Ranch and Willoughby House “changed some of us,” he said while talking to a NE audience April 11.

Three girls and four boys, ages 16 to 18, whose identities are being kept anonymous because they are juveniles, opened up about the crimes they had committed, their family situations and the way Willoughby and McFadden helped them.

From the Willoughby House, one 17-year-old said she committed theft when she went to go get her nails done and didn’t pay. 

“When I was 13 years old, my first drug was cocaine,” she said. “From there, I was drinking and running away from home.”

The juvenile wound up back in jail and would later wear a tracking device informally known as an ankle bracelet.

“When I went to Irving High School, I would get in trouble, and my parents couldn’t put up with me, so they turned me in,” she said. “Now, I realize that I’m wasting my time being locked up. I want to experience things on my own. I want to go to college to be a psychologist and then go to Baylor. My trials and tribulations help me out with who I am now.”

The second juvenile offender, a 16-year-old girl from Willoughby House, was skipping school and doing drugs when she started getting into trouble. Burglary at 12 was the first crime she committed. Her relationship with her dad changed, and he pushed her away.

“I don’t even talk to my dad anymore, but my mom is supportive,” she said. “I plan on being a nurse, working with kids. I want to be a pediatrician.”

Breaking into an empty house at the age of 13 is how another juvenile from McFadden Ranch started his crimes.

“I went to jail for breaking in and got out and put on probation for six months,” he said. “I was doing good, but then I started drinking. I used to follow my brother everywhere. I used to be an A and B student, and I was in the band, but I would hang out with my brother and his friends, and I liked it.”

When he was released a couple of times, he would drink and smoke. After being in the hospital close to dying because of drugs, the next day he was at a cookout drinking with friends. He then was influenced to go get drugs.

“I woke up in a cell with food and ants all over me,” he said. “I asked them what happened, and they told me I was knocked out for three days.”

An 18-year-old from McFadden Ranch said he committed his first crime at 12, which he didn’t even remember. He started off skipping school. Influenced by his older brothers, he dropped out of school in sixth grade and started working in construction, thinking he had all the knowledge he needed.

“I’m not trying to go through this no more,” he said. “Do the right thing. Getting locked up isn’t what you want.”

To conclude the presentation, the audience was asked if they had any advice to give the juveniles.

“I was also where you are right now,” said one audience member. “All I got to say is you can do this. You got this.”

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