The Marshall Project

When You’re 16 and It’s Your First Time in Solitary

“I felt like I aged 10 years just by doing 20 days in there.”

I was 16 when I was arrested and taken to the Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, N.Y., to wait for my trial on burglary charges. A lot of the people I was locked up with were kids I went to school with. I’d converse with a few of them, but mostly tried to stay out of the way.

I had only been in jail a couple of weeks before I got into an altercation with another inmate and they took us both to the SHU — that’s the Special Housing Unit, also known as solitary confinement.

Life Inside Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Related Stories

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