The Box: An animated short on teenagers in solitary confinement

“It didn’t hit me until we started going across that bridge to Rikers Island. Soon as we started going across that bridge, I was like: What did I get myself into? I’m really going to Rikers Island.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has posted an animated short based on the experience of Izzy Nazario, who was sent to Rikers Island New York City jail when he was 16 years old. As a teenager, he spent 300 days in solitary confinement there and was never convicted of a crime.

Hundreds of American teenagers end up in solitary confinement in adult prisons — and for long stretches, even though they’ve never been convicted of a crime and often simply because they weren’t able to post bail.

Nazario’s experience was one of many CIR reporters Daffodil Altan and Trey Bundy came upon in the months they spent investigating teenagers held in “punitive segregation.”

According to CIR, the reporters “tried to get New York City correction officials to explain why they’re holding so many teens in solitary and asked to see how young people live in the box. But after dozens of emails and phone calls, and two trips to New York, no one would talk to them or give them access.”