© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture
Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us.

Us & Them Explores Juvenile Justice Divides

Juvie — Why are so many young West Virginians incarcerated and at what cost?
Lalena Price
/
WVPB

Every year West Virginia children are taken into state custody. Sometimes, a case involves parental neglect or drug abuse. Other times, kids commit crimes and are placed in juvenile residential facilities.

The juvenile justice programs and agencies have been under a spotlight over the past decade — partly because West Virginia has had one of the highest rates of juvenile incarceration in the country. Lawmakers have passed bills to reform the system but the outcome is mixed.

Meanwhile, juvenile incarceration means the system makes decisions for kids — and those changes can last a lifetime.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the CRC Foundation.

Subscribe to Us & Them on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher and beyond. You also can listen to Us & Them on

WVPB Radio — tune in on the fourth Thursday of every month at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation on the following Saturday at 3 p.m.

Geard Mitchell
Louis Mitchell
Geard Mitchell (19) knows West Virginia’s juvenile system first hand. He spent nearly three years in the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center in Julian, W.Va. Mitchell, who now lives in Brooklyn, NY, is one of 12 plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the State of West Virginia. The plaintiffs argue the state violated the rights of children by failing to plan appropriately for juveniles in state custody.
Donald R. Kuhn Center
Trey Kay
This is the exterior of the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center in Julian, W.Va.
Trey Kay - Donald R. Kuhn Center
Laura Rigell
Trey Kay is in Boone County, W.Va. standing on the shoulder of U.S. Route 119 in front of the Donald R. Kuhn Juvenile Center.
Ronda Lehman
Trey Kay
Ronda Lehman has been the coordinator of Teen Court in Jefferson County, W.Va. since 2013. There are currently about 16 other Teen Courts in the State of West Virginia.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.