Though he’s never been convicted of a crime, Geard Mitchell spent part of his childhood in a juvenile detention center, at times sleeping on cement floors under harsh fluorescent lights left on through the night during lockdowns.
He attended high school by clicking through online courses and had “no one to talk to but the walls” because of restrictions on phone calls. He attended group therapy with teens accused of rape, when what he really needed was grief therapy to process his mother’s death.
Daily life became so torturous that Geard scratched up his face to look like a methamphetamine addict, hoping that “they would transfer me to somewhere more normal, like rehab.”
Geard’s only crime was being a foster child in an era when a surging number of biological parents are falling into the grips of drug addiction and child welfare systems are struggling with a shortage of foster parents.