Category Archives: Juvenile Justice


Published by: Olivia

Many young girls whose boyfriends are gang members live with the constant worry that they will be killed.  Young people tattoo themselves in juvenile detention centers—because they are bored, to identify themselves with the gang, as a way of self-destructing.  The fact is that tattooing yourself with the letters or numbers of a gang is like condemning yourself to death, since you become more visible to enimies and it becomes more difficult to get out of the gang.  In the following poem, a girl tells about her reaction to the news that her boyfriend of 7 years (with whom she hopes to have children some day) tattood his face.


Joven, 17 años

Yesterday he told me he tattood his face
I just stayed quiet
“It’s not going to be the same now,” I told him
We aren’t going to be able to go where we want

That night, I cried and cried
When my mom sees him she isn’t going to like him anymore
Because she is afraid we Could both be killed

If I get pregnant
And they kill him
I’ll be alone
And I don’t want that

It’s hard to be a homeboy’s girl
Whatever happens I’ll always be with him
I love him so much I’d give my ife for him
Who knows what will become of us