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Her Story: Nancy


Nancy, whose family lives in El Monte, was 12 when she got pregnant. Nancy's mother is caring for 4-year-old Arline while Nancy serves a nine-month sentence for possessing an opium pipe and for threatening a police officer. Camp Scott, in the Santa Clarita Valley, is the farthest she's been from home. Nancy, with tattoos around her eyes that mark her as a gang member, talks about her life and crime:

It was a real bad time. One of my friends had passed away. I was standing there, over his body, and the police officer started telling me he was glad he died. I felt anger, and I felt sad. I told the police officer I would have him killed. I didn't really mean it, but I said it.

I been in trouble before, ooooh yes! since I was little. I used to run away a lot. I just wanted to be out there. Just to have fun, just to be around people, without nobody telling me what to do. I used to do a lot of robberies. I never got caught, neither.

I don't really hang around with girls, never did, I hang around with boys. I like going out a lot. I like messing around. I started using drugs, using rock. That's what got me into the situation I'm in now. A lot of those boys I know, they're either in the youth authority or they're in prison now. Either that or they're dead. I've been here since December. I've lost three of my homeboys just since then.

My mother didn't tell me about boys and all that. I was so curious, I had to find out. I found out. I'm going to tell my daughter. I'm going to explain to her. I know my mom loves me, but she would just tell me "no, no, no" all the time when I was growing up. I hated that. My dad, I don't know him. Never met him. But I think he sends child support.

When I went to school, I saw certain things--I loved it! The gangs, I loved them. The people in them were always laughing. Nobody ever told them what to do. I got like that too. Nobody could tell me nothing. I'd been through it all--and if I hadn't been through it I was going to go through it.

So I did all these things, just to do them. Every bad thing, I did it good. I was real good at being bad.

My life has just stopped since I been here. But when I get out, it's going to be just the same.

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