Kids who have grown up behind bars are coming out as adults, often as ill-prepared for life beyond the razor wire as they were when they went in, reports the Dallas Morning News. No programs in Texas prisons are specifically geared to those about to be released after coming of age on the inside. They come out more likely to commit new offenses and have mental health issues. “The real question?” said Michele Deitch, who studies juvenile offenders at the University of Texas at Austin. “Is putting them in that cage with virtually no treatment or services going to change them in a way that's for the better?”
Even the person once charged with overseeing Texas' prisons worries. “We have been raising minors, raising children, in our prison system, in our adult prison system,” said Christina Melton Crain. She oversaw the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's board as an appointee of former Gov. Rick Perry. “These people are coming back to be your neighbors, to be your grocery sackers, to be washing your cars. … They've been incarcerated since they were 14, and now they're 40, so what are you going to do with something like that?” The Morning News tells the stories of Texas juveniles who spent their formative years in prison.