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The Miami Youth Academy houses up to 28 boys from 14 to 18 years old, who are sent there by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. These stories were written by students in a journalism class run by Exchange for Change, a local nonprofit group that teaches writing classes in youth commitment and adult correctional facilities. Retired newspaper reporter Henry Unger has taught the class for nearly two years in collaboration with the academy and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Trick-or-Treating With My Brothers

By A.S.

Can you imagine a world without Halloween in your childhood? 

For my first Halloween, I had to go to numerous stores to find the right costume and size.  

During another Halloween, I had to find the right place to go to, because I did not want to take my two younger brothers to a place where people would be doing inappropriate stuff in front of them. 

So I made sure I took them to a wealthy neighborhood, where not many wild people go. I made sure to hold both of their hands, so that they would not wander off and get lost. 

It ended by all of our feet starting to hurt, so we didn’t want to walk any more after getting all the candy. 

Halloween is a great night for some people, since many kids don’t usually get to go out of their house after dark. It’s fun when you can walk around and get free candy. Of course, you have to watch out for the cavities that could come soon after.


The Creepy Haunted House

By A.W. 

I’m going to start off by saying Halloween was one of my favorite holidays because I enjoyed taking my little brothers and nieces out to go trick-or-treating.  

I am a little too old now, but when I was younger I would go with my brother and big sister. Once, when it was dark around 9 p.m., we came across this haunted house that looked really creepy. We walked up to it, but before we could ring the doorbell a man that was dressed like Freddy Krueger came out of nowhere. He started chasing us with a chainsaw. 

We all started running until we couldn’t run anymore. The man then told us to come back and get some candy. I was very scared and did not want to go back there, but I did. I got some candy.

Halloween is a very good holiday to celebrate. I wish I could enjoy mine this year, but I can’t. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

The students at the Miami Youth Academy wrote these stories for their newspaper Titan Tribune, a collaborative effort by the facility, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Exchange for Change, a Miami-based non-profit group that supports writing programs in youth commitment and adult correctional facilities. The students work on the paper in a journalism class taught by retired journalism teacher Henry Unger. The writers are identified by their initials to protect their identities.