Caught

Caught

All kids make dumb mistakes. But depending on your zip code, race or just bad luck, those mistakes can have a lasting impact. Mass incarceration starts young. In Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, hear from kids about the moment they collided with law and order, and how it changed them forever. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios

Episodes

February 28, 2018 3 min

The United States locks up more people than any country in the world. That starts young: Roughly a million kids a year get caught up in the criminal justice system. In Caught, a new podcast from WNYC, we'll listen as some of those young people tell their stories over nine episodes. They'll help us understand how we got here--and how we might help, rather than just punish troubled youth. Welcome to Caught: The Lives of Juven...

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Z had his first encounters with law enforcement when he was just 12 years old. Now, at 16, he’s sitting in detention on an armed robbery charge—his young life has been defined by cops and courts. Dwayne Betts is a poet and juvenile justice lawyer who, in his own youth, was deemed a “super-predator,” and spent nine years incarcerated. Both Z and Dwayne were guilty of the crimes for which they were charged; their stories are not whod...

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In our first episode, we met Z. He's locked up because he and a group of friends robbed someone with a gun. But now that he's inside, his biggest problem is his temper. Z is a kid who's had mental health challenges since he was small, and when he's gotten the support he needs, he has thrived. Inside lock up, that support is complicated. It comes with a label. And like many kids in the system, he gets help mostly whe...

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At age 15, Z received his sentence in adult court. The reason why dates back 40 years, to a child named Willie Bosket. His crimes changed everything for kids and criminal justice.

In 1978, Bosket murdered two people on the New York City subway. Despite the severity of his crime, he received a sentence of just 5 years, and the tabloids went wild. The result: a new state law that has pushed thousands of kids into the adult system, an...

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Honor has struggled for years with leukemia, homelessness and suicide attempts. On the anniversary of his leukemia diagnosis, he reached a breaking point: A terrifying eruption that he still refers to as only "the incident." Like many young people who struggle with mental illness, "the incident" pushed Honor into the criminal justice system. His story -- and his rare shot at a second chance -- challenges our underst...

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Stephen is one of thousands of so-called "juvenile lifers" who have an unexpected shot at freedom today. Up until 2005, most juveniles could be sentenced just as harshly as adults: that meant life without parole, even the death penalty. Then a landmark Supreme Court decision made executing juvenile offenders illegal, and sentencing guidelines began to change. The court was swayed after hearing about teenage brain developmen...

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March 23, 2018 38 min

Status offenses are acts only considered crimes if committed by young people – things like running away, not going to school, or missing curfew. They are designed to keep at risk youth safe, but in practice, they can also become a pipeline into the juvenile justice system for kids who might otherwise not end up there. One of those kids is Maria, a young woman living in Walla Walla, Washington, who refuses to attend school. Washingt...

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The justice system isn’t the catch-all for every struggling kid. Desperate parents with means can turn to a whole network of private programs before their kids even get caught. The state of Utah houses a $400 million industry for just such families. For an average cost of $513 a day, parents can send their kids to one popular option: wilderness therapy camps. These are programs that claim sending kids into the wild can cure all kin...

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Girls make up only a small fraction of the incarcerated juvenile population, but girls often land in detention because they have experienced some form of trauma: abusive families, bad experiences in the foster care system, and especially sexual abuse. Policy experts even use the term "sexual abuse to prison pipeline," and they say it’s why incarcerating a young girl perpetuates more negative behavior and makes it harder to ...

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Rikers Island has ended the traditional use of solitary confinement for juveniles. New York State banned it more broadly, but only for juveniles that have already been sentenced. In many counties, pre-trial juvenile offenders are still put in solitary. In this episode, WNYC teams up with The Marshall Project to investigate how widespread the practice remains. We also learn about the lasting impacts of being put in solitary, from a ...

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June 29, 2018 37 min

From WNYC Studios, a new podcast called Aftereffect we thought you might enjoy.

In the summer of 2016, a police shooting upended the life of Arnaldo Rios Soto, a 26-year old, non-speaking, autistic man. Aftereffect tells Arnaldo's story -- a hidden world of psych wards, physical abuse and chemical restraints -- and asks the question: What made Arnaldo's life go so wrong?

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May 8, 2019 27 min

For as long as anyone can remember, criminal justice in America has meant one thing: punishment. In the last few years, however, that has begun to change. In a six-part narrative miniseries called Charged, New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon traces that change through the lives of people who pass through a special court in New York City designed to be a speedy machine for the harsh punishment of illegal gun possessio...

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June 5, 2019 26 min

From host Kai Wright and the team that brought you Caught, The Stakes is a new show about what's not working in our society, how we can do better and why we have to. In this episode, hear from Kristin, a gender fluid, pansexual 21-year-old. She takes Kai into her online and IRL world of cartoon cats in crop tops, Instagram icons and friends who see gender as just another construct. Along the way, she engages Kai and others in a...

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