When I first started this site, it was because my kids wanted me to document the stories they’d heard all their lives about the kids that were incarcerated at a juvenile correctional institution in Geneva, Illinois west of Chicago. I had also hoped to reconnect with some of the people I knew during that time.

I am surprised that dozens of people have contact me; many who had been locked up in Geneva as children. From being a place to record memories of my time working at Geneva Girls School, the site has become a place for people to talk about their childhood and attempt to heal the wounds from those days of incarceration.

I hope some of these posts will resonate with your own beliefs, experiences and stories. When that happens and memories are recalled, please share your thoughts with me or leave a comment for the ‘True Story’ writers. Their willingness to relive their childhood experiences and hardships is truly courageous.

A little about me~
In the 1970s I worked with incarcerated juveniles at Illinois State Training School for Girls. First in a medium security female unit (Geneva Cottage) then the maximum security unit for aggressive females (Oak) and later, when the institution became co-ed, with male inmates on Wallace Cottage. I loved my job and I loved many of those kids. Almost exclusively they were poor and many were from inner city Chicago – ‘the ghetto’. It’s 35 years later and I now live in Australia yet I still remember these young men and women and reflect on their stories and the lessons I learned from them. I learned from them about life, justice (injustice) and the ‘sameness’ of us all. These disadvantaged and mostly uneducated children taught me more than I could ever teach them.

I am recalling their stories in hopes that others will reflect before judging and look beyond how things might appear to see the truth and the real person.

The children that were locked up are are now adults and are writing their stories of incarceration (see the sub pages in True Stories). You will be saddened and sometimes furious that these injustices occurred. Don’t think this is past history. Children are still being locked up and suffer many kinds of abuse in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Deveoped countries are not exempt from putting children behind bars. Please raise awareness that kids are put behind bars and act to stop abuse, exploitation and violence against children.

What can we all do to help all children experience the childhood that is their birthright?