Welcome to a new series of difficult but important testimony. “Gladiator School: Stories from Inside YTS” will recount first-hand accounts offer inside California’s most notorious juvenile prison. Closed in 2010, Youth Trade School (also known as Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility) had a reputation for mayhem, violence, and murder that earned it the name Gladiator School. It was there that minors would harden themselves for survival, only to be returned to the streets — more troubled and volatile than when they arrived.
Since publishing the story The Closing of California’s Most Violent Juvenile Prison, survivors of YTS have come forward to tell stories of daily life inside. Over a dozen parts, this series will relay and respect their stories: Juvie told by the ones who were there.