Isadora Kosofsky has been photographing since she was 14 years old. In her early projects, she documented the loss and loneliness of senior citizens in assisted living facilities. Now 20, she has recently completed a series that peers into the world of youth incarceration. In photographing one family for over two years, she explores the impact the vast and complicated juvenile justice system has on individuals and their families. Here, she tells TIME how she broke through the physical and emotional barriers that surrounded her subjects.