Published in SF Weekly
“The first time I went to juvenile hall I was 14,” Tenaya Jones began. “Juvenile hall did not support me. I knew what I needed and no one listened. They portrayed me as something I wasn’t. Our families are struggling to stay in San Francisco, and I was a young person needing my needs met.”
Jones is now 18, about to graduate high school, and working two jobs — a feat, she says, that was made possible through support from the Bayview YMCA, the Young Women’s Freedom Center, and Hope SF — not juvenile hall.
It’s a common narrative; thanks in large part to the slew of youth-centered organizations across San Francisco, the need for a juvenile hall has become questionable. A recent report from the Chronicle showed that violent felony arrests of kids have declined 87 percent since 1990, yet the city spends nearly $300,000 per child per year to lock them up.