Published by The Imprint
After spending her teenage years in and out of juvenile detention in Santa Clara County, California, Arabella Guevara was used to living in crowded conditions. Mattresses on the floor, girls triple-bunked in cells meant for two — Guevara thought she had seen it all.
But none of this prepared her for her final stint at the William F. James Ranch, a 96-bed coed facility in rural Morgan Hill, south of San Jose. As other young women finished their terms and headed home, no one arrived to replace them. By June 2020, Guevara, who had been arrested on car theft and burglary charges, found herself alone with a handful of probationstaff.
“It was depressing,” said Guevara, now 19. “You’re already locked up. You’re already away from your family and friends. And now you’re just by yourself.”