The lunatic is on the grass: A schizophrenic golfer unwittingly removes stigma of mental health

This is one of the best pieces I have read today. It’s been a good day for reading, finding several writers who have something worthwhile to read. It isn’t pictures of cute kittens and puppies or the recipe of last night’s dinner. There is a place for everyone but it won’t keep me coming back for more.

I reblogged this on Jamie’s blog because recently he’s been writing about the part of the prison his cell is in and how he has been put with the insane. Some are in prison because they were insane already and the authorities don’t know where else to put them. They could be a danger to themselves or others, and the rest are men who have been driven insane while inside because of the abuse they get in prison and because there is no real treatment to help them.

There are cutters, who cut themselves for more than one reason. To ease the pressure of mental pain and to force the guards to take them to medical – any reason to leave the cell are only two reasons.

There are those that smear feces on themselves, the walls and the small window on the door so guards can’t see in. Jamie said the smell is horrendous. These men are lost causes because there is no one to care. Sometimes these men end up dead.There is almost no one who cares; maybe an aging mother who is unable to find out anything. Her son was a play thing for a sick guard to abuse who rarely faces consequences. The government talks about the problem to make it look like they are doing something, but nothing gets done.

This post is well written. Please share it.

takingthemaskoff

“For no amount of our screaming at the people in charge to change things can change them… the powers bent on waging war against the poor and the young and the “other” will only be moved to kinship when they observe it.”

By Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne

People with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are the most discriminated against people in the history of the world.

A psycho is a derogatory term for someone who is psychotic. Someone who is psychotic is a person suffering from psychosis. Psychosis is characterized by a disconnection from reality.

That is it, that is all there is to it. A psycho is someone who is experiencing a disconnection from reality.

At first the term was “mad,” then we called them “crazy,” then “insane,” which became “lunacy” or “lunatics,” and then of course “psychosis” or “psychotic.”

As I have shared stories of the ancient days…

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Thanksgiving in The Privacy of Prison

To begin this post, I’ve been out of commission this month and had surgery to make me a bionic woman! I have a healing brand new titanium shoulder, or rather the ball on the top of the arm bone that goes into the shoulder joint, and a great deal of metal holding my elbow together. Very painful process.Thank goodness it wasn’t my dominant arm, although typing with one finger on my Nook is rather frustrating. I’ve slowly been catching up with myself and my blogs and all else with life. Yesterday I wrote the post below as I gather my recent letters from Jamie for my next post. He really is an amazing man, fighting to keep his sanity together while living in the bowels of the prison where they keep the mentally insane and the ones they have driven insane. But he is fighting to survive. I wonder if I would have made it if I had been through the abuse he’s taken. I do know he would not have made it alone. People need people. No one deserves what they have done to him and many others. Fighting the corporate profit machine will never get easy. People know it is happening but there aren’t many who try to do anything about it. I understand. At least pass on information and help educate others.

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Thanksgiving

Twice a year inmates are fed better. Maybe not the dinner you’d feed your family, but it’s better. More food. I remember one year Jamie was offered a second meal if he agreed to not be taken down for his shower. He said it was the first time in a long time he felt full.The prison he is at now raises pigs so the serve a lot of pork – undercooked, pink and rubbery. He won’t eat it.

prison

No one likes confinement or solitude. Sitting alone during holidays is probably the hardest. Not being remembered during holidays, birthdays and Father’s Day is the worst.  Experiencing it endlessly for years makesyou doubt your value to your family. I understand how that feels and I can see it in the mood of his handwriting.

When we, on the outside go down and we find ourselves confined, it is usually illness or other medical conditions that put us down. It is bearable when we have someone in our lives who loves us and is willing to do our bidding we still hate to lose our precious  freedom and have to ask someone to help us. We get bored and usually glad to be up and around. We usually know our confinement has a finite end. It could be days, weeks, months or possibly years depending on how fast we mend. Sometimes the situation is permanent, but if we aren’t alone we can often find a way to rework our lives so we feel we have purpose. We haven’t lost everything. We have hope. At least most of us do. I’ve been confined to bed for 1 1/2 months because my arm needs to heal right. Lately I’ve carefully gotten up with my husband’s assistance. I walked around the livingroom and sat at the piano for a few minutes and played with my good arm. I’m ready for the confinement to be over. 

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It is easy to tell someone else, “I understand,” even when you have absolutely no idea what you do and don’t understand about being imprisoned, no matter how much you want to. But those of us who have a heart – we try. We want to understand. We bring all the hurt inside and try to hold it for awhile to ease another’s pain.

For almost eleven years now I’ve been writing to Jamie and visiting when at all possible; not as often as I wish I could, but my money is scarce while making ends meet on a disability check. I live in fear of a car repair on my well worn, somewhat banged up fifteen year old Mitzubishi. It can be a tough road when illness takes you from making money and owning a business to being one of “them”, the lazy welfare queens the Republicans say don’t want to work and would rather suck off government benefits than make my own money, so I can buy new tires, fix the heater in my car and be able to put the driver’s side window up when it rains. It angers me sometimes to hear politicians blame people for ruining this once great country instead of putting the blame where it really should good – the profiteers. The corporations who put profit before people and don’t care one iota if they destroy them in the meantime.

Laying in my bed with a bulky sling on my left arm, trying to balance my Nook on my right thigh, I think of Jamie and the hardship he goes through every day in prison. In the state of Texas, one of the worst states to be incarcerated, it is worse than most of the other states, although none are someplace you’d choose to be. They keep him in the pit of hell; the part of the prison where they keep the completely insane they have already ruined. I write him and tell him to hold on – he can do it! Keep your mind on the future. Don’t react when they push and push trying to make you react. He’s only human. How many people could ignore what the guards do as they push every button a person has, just to make them angry so they can justify some kind of abuse. Laughably, look at Trump. He can’t handle ANY criticism of any kind and reacts with immaturity and threatens to sue people left and right, yet inmates who are beaten, starved with rotten food and given inadequate medical care are just supposed to ignore it and say, “Have a nice day.”

His cell is in a hallway of cutters and those who not only throw shit and piss around, the inmates have a game they play where they make darts with razor blades from disposable razors and shoot them at each other and one man asked if Jamie wanted to “play”. “Are you nuts?” he replied. I tell him over and over, “Hang in there. Hang in there”.

He has no where to turn. I’m all he has. He trusts me when I tell him I’m here, but still gets afraid he has said something wrong and I’m mad at him if I wait to long to answer a letter – insecure and thinking I’ve gone away. He’s scared of the life that will await him one day on the outside. He doesn’t know that world. There is no option. I can’t let him down. I told him he can count on me to be there and I don’t even know what that means. I have to heal my broken bones to finish his book. I need to keep his name out there so people will want to know his story and but his book. I was just scouting piano bars in restaurants to play gigs again, for my own survival and to make money to see him and take his son with me.

These are obstacles. Nothing good is easy to accomplish. Everyone has obstacles but this will be a middle age man with medical problems and no life experience and no job experience. Change is hard. Changing everything about your life is impossible for most. I’ve told him over and over, there is something important he is to do and he needs to discover what that is.

I just sent him his fourth GED book. The first was stolen by an inmate. The second was stolen by the property mgr at a prison. The third one he didn’t receive and it was sent back to Amazon. I’m now waiting to hear if he received this last one. I ordered the same book for myself so I can help him study. If you’ve never seen a GED book, I hadn’t, it is not easy cramming all of high school into one book. It is very comprehensive. If I study with him it would help keep him on track and even fun to make quizzes for him or maybe explain things he doesn’t understand. I hope he gets this book.

Part of Jamie’s problem is that he is a black and 6’3″, a pretty big guy. Out on the streets when cops are shooting black men after they pull them over, a normal cop’s excuse, whether they mean it or not is, “I was afraid for my life,” Even if the man never took his hands of the steering wheel. This fictionalized reality was started decades ago when the media portrayed black men as dangerous and uneducated and how they want to kill you. It was used over and over as the justification for why cops shoot first; why they verbally say, “Stop resisting arrest”, even if the man is unconscious, so they can get away with murder. These biases carry over to the prisons.

So I write and I write and I keep him from going crazy as best I can. I make sure he knows he is wanted. He has value. His son needs his father. We have come too far to give up. He still has six years to go out of 17. It is still a long time and a lot can happen during that time. If you’d like to, you could write to him. He would appreciate any communication. Don’t use stick on address levels or colored envelopes. They would be returned. Thank you for reading.

James Cummings#1368189/Allred Unit/2101 FM 369 N/ Iowa Park/Tx 76367

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The focus of the next newsletter going out early in December is on the issues of female inmates and their families. If you know someone this topic is of interest to please have them sign up for the ITFO newsletter or share it with them. If someone has a story they want told leave me a msg and a way to contact you.

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Society’s Parasite: The Treatment Industrial Complex

light from sky

BRAVE NEW FILMS

If this doesn’t scare you, you aren’t human. If you think this isn’t happening you don’t understand greed. Because I have made it my business to try to understand why our justice system is the way it is and how none of us is really safe agains the corporations, especially if you aren’t full blooded white or if you have a mental history of asking for help. Bi-polar, needing meds and therapy – irratic behavior – needing therapy but no money for treatment so you get “sentenced ” for therapy. Shoot, what IS this about? Can they really do this to people? I know what they do in the prisons. Is this a version of the Twilight Zone where they smile and let you in – but never let you out?

Criminal justice reform efforts are at an all time high and have more momentum than ever. At the same time, there is a dangerous new scheme coming from the for-profit prison industry. The same companies who have made billions off of keeping Americans behind bars, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of American (CCA), are now profiting off of another destructive system, the Treatment Industrial Complex (TIC). The TIC is the the expansion of the incarceration industry into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system–prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses, electronic monitoring, and home arrest.  Many factors are at play in the rise of TIC. As the public has grown more aware over the years of the large scale disenfranchisement of people of color by way of mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, so has there been rise in support for an end to the for-profit prison system. This social awakening is perceived as a threat to those who have been profiting off incarceration. This new approach is an attempt at repackaging the prison system for continued profits. Society’s Parasite: A Look Into The Treatment Industrial Complex, shows how dangerous this development is to the widespread movement for real criminal justice reform in the name of safety, not profits.

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Idalee – When Do We Heal?

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Earlier in the year I found this artist, Idalee, on SoundCloud and put his music on my list, and then forgot about it. I listened to it again today and did a more in-depth search on him. I related to it more than I realized. Music has been part of my life since the 2nd grade. I always knew, without a doubt, it was who I am. Like him, Iso had an affinity for drugs and it almost managed to kill me like it almost killed him. I don’t know where it came from.

Why did I want to do drugs? Because I was scared of people, and because I knew there was no reason why anyone would want to be around me. I had no self worth, no confidence. My inferiority complex was deep. Drugs helped me pretend I was stronger – more outgoing – likeable. I came out of my shell and could be the person I wanted to be. But I was young and stupid and thought nothing bad would happen to me – as most youth do.

So this song – When Do We Heal? – has to begin with knowing we deserve to heal. And that healing has to be spread to others – without being judgemental. Everyone has their own healing. No one is born perfect.

I started healing in 1988, when I was 34, when I started studying Nichiren Buddhism. I needed to study my life. Why did I feel the way I did about my life? What was my purpose? How do I change the parts of myself that needed changing? I absolutely do not believe in a God “out there” that plans our life and loves me,too. Healing is up to me. I can’t all something else to do it for me. That is my choice and I don’t think people should follow my choice nor should they try to choose for me our tell me I’m wrong.

Over these years of study I began to understand where my music comes from and my purpose to create. The older I get, the stronger the need to express myself with music becomes. It has the power to aid in healing. To put these feelings into a solid form and then hear it back and never even remember playing it, is awesome. I just close my eyes and it comes out of’fingers. I feel the pain of others. It overwhelms me. I cry. Any deep emotion – happy, sad or anger makes me cry.

My music led me to the prisons. It was a place full of broken people, many with no one to care. I understand that sometimes good people screw up big time, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. There are many reasons why people end up inside and why some don’t. Beginning my journey, ten years ago into understanding the people in our prisons and the torture they are given to demean them until they are broken is so wrong. This knowledge gave my music a purpose. Instead of writing music to become the next Stevie Nick’s, as I was told, I learned that reason never works.

I now write for people. I give my music as gifts. It is the most I have to give of myself. The older I get the more it means. It doesn’t have to be loved by the masses. It needs to only affect one person, hopefully in a positive way. Below the video I am going to add a recent piece I’ve published before. It catches in my throat because it says exactly what I mean. “Picking Up Broken Pieces”

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About Idalee

Heal: An in-prison music video by Idalee In honor of Prison Fellowship’s 40th anniversary, singer-songwriter Idalee has gifted us his new song called “Heal.” It’s a song about #grace and #secondchances. It begs the question, #whendoweheal? Prison Fellowship partnered with Idalee to take the song into prison, where he performed “Heal” with a band of incarcerated men. The result was this amazing music video/documentary. Take a look and SHARE it with your friends. Then head over to idalee.com/heal to grab your free download of the song! Posted by Prison Fellowship on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

WHY I EVEN CARE ABOUT PRISONERS

It’s become pretty common knowledge that American prisons are overcrowded, over-criminalization locks away too many people, and mandatory minimum sentences are setting our culture back. They’re big problems and there are more than a few opinions on how to change this. I’m not really gonna talk about that now. Through performing music in prison and shooting video with inmates all over the country, I’ve really cared most about a true second chance afforded to those men and women released back to society – which is over 90% of incarcerated people. I care about them getting help on the inside and a fair enough playing field for them to get to work when they get out. I didn’t go to prison myself. Could have. Easily. But I didn’t. But I’m aware that there was only one variance between what I did – I’d be there too. Regardless – I feel like I got a second chance at music after the accident. I got a second chance to do what I wanted to do with my life – to contribute – to create. For those who TRULY work for a second chance – I want them to get it.

Piano Lullaby “For The Children”

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Earlier last year I recorded a piano lullaby called “For The Children.” When I was putting my last ITFO newsletter together it was called, For The Children, about the children of inmates who often become the next generation of inmates by being pushed through the school to prison pipeline – a very deliberate action by teachers who admit they suspend black children much quicker and easier than white children who are also physically abused by onshore cops that were NEVER needed in the schools when I was a child.

The Prison Industrial Complex is very selfish about their financial gains made by diminishing the quality of the lives of anyone who isn’t white. Anyone who thinks this isn’t true is most likely white as well. Keeping the status of white privilege as a badge they think worth wearing, even though it doesn’t really exist.

Many people are emotionally upset over the concept of abortion. I’m not saying that is wrong.We should care about the lives that become children and hope they have the dream of a fulfilled life. I am more concerned about the lives of the children who have already been born yet their lives are not being helped by the people who insist all lives should be born. Too few people care about the lives after they are born. Are they loved, fed, nurtured, educated and given hope or are they brushed aside because they are black or minority and have less value because they have a parent in prison and therefore have a gene that automatically makes them prone to be a criminal? There is no gene like this. It is a box we put these children in and they grow up feeling they have no worth because people make them feel this is their rightful place in society.

If you have ever felt these things – If you have ever felt that every impregnated cell has the right to life, yet have done nothing to help these lives,  you should be ashamed, because there is much you could do if your feelings were sincere. 


white guy stack of bks

 When I put out the last issue of the newsletter, this music it would have been a good piece to put it but I had forgotten about it. So I’m putting it here today if you’d like to hear it. There are 32 pieces of music on Sound Cloud. Someday I’ll be gone. I hope my music lives on in the people who were part of my life. The music I write is about emotions. When I feel something strongly it comes out in music. So much of what I write is melancholy, written in minor keys.

I began writing when I was a teenager, writing songs. Somewhere I have all the lyrics. I should publish them. They are a diary of my life.  My piano accompaniment was classically influenced. Growing up I was influenced more by Van Clyburn and Andre Previn than by the Beatles and the Stones. I no longer write songs but I do write poetry, better read to the music than sung. You can find it on both blogs. Here and “Watch and Whirl” by searching for Sonni Quick Piano Music.

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Once a Prisoner, Always a Prisoner

This is a blog I read today for the first time. Actually, she found me. I always try to go back and see what their blog is about. I’m a bit behind right now because of my broken shoulder and arm so I’m about slow. But please go take a look. Save any comments our likes for her blog. I’m interested in seeing where she is going.

Minority America

People get thrown into the system all of the time but no one really stops to consider what that truly means. Putting someone in prison not only destroys the rest of their life, it also creates more problems for their family. Children are much more likely to be incarcerated if one of their parents are, or have been. It also hurts them financially because the family has to pay their fines and pay for phone calls and bail if needed. This has a huge impact on them.

Say you started out in one of those neighborhoods that are high in crime. No one wants to hire you because they know where you are from. Since you can’t come up with the money in legal ways you resort to crime. Now the police caught up with you and you find yourself in prison. Now your already struggling family has to pay for…

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The Children of Inmates, Where Do You Stand?

kids in handcuff

(The source for this photo is borde.org. ) This past week the facebook page for Jamie, “Jamie, Life In Prison” gained 45 new likes, the most it has grown in any one week period! It takes time to build readership just like it takes time here at WordPress. My last ITFO Newsletter didn’t post here to this blog. I am having difficulties doing some things right now since I broke my shoulder and arm a week a ago. I can only use Swype on my Nook which is slow and tedious. At least I damaged my left side and not my right side, as I try to find something positive in all this mess. If you aren’t on the mailing list yet for the newsletter, go to the link for the facebook page. Scroll down about a dozen.You’ll see a post “What About The Children?” sent out to over 6000 people. Clicking on that post will bring up the issue. There are about 7 articles you can read by clicking on the titles. Only a tiny portion is visible. Each one is a different aspect of the children. On the top are buttons to see past issues and also to subscribe. Please do that and also share it on your timeline if you think it is important. The next issue will be about the women, a quickly growing segment of the prison population. Why? Without mothers the children have no chance at all.

The issues about prison reform are so important because it affects so many people in addition to those incarcerated.  Wives and husbands. Sisters and brothers, grandparents and friends. If our justice system didn’t incarcerate so many innocent people to feed the corporations that don’t want to pay a living wage to the public who desperately needs to make a livable wage then just maybe things could change. If you break it completely down, it begins with the percentage of people who believe the corporations who bring you the news are also bringing you the truth. Sadly, the truth is hard to find. Versions of the truth, which are really only opinions are believed as truth. Only if you take the time to read outside the box and strive to understand why it is so important to “them” for you to believe what they say can you begin to understand what is true and what isn’t. Until you do that you are just a pawn in their game of control.

The incarceration of the black race was deliberate. We know it for sure with John Erlichman’s confession about Nixon’s War on Drugs. We also know for certain because it is mainly the black race being set free because of bogus charges – not the white race.  Sadly it often takes 20 – 40 years to get the conviction turned around and prisons often fight like hell to keep them and say it is up to them to figure out how to get released with no help from them. Is it because they don’t want to admit wrong doing because of the way they are mistreated?. I don’t know, but I think, as human beings, they would want to do no more harm. It is not the case, though. Because of racism, being born black is often the only “sin” committed.

In cases where crime was committed, the mandatory minimum sentencing laws often take the rest of that person’s life away from them. A gram of coke, an ounce of pot and a life is lost. Which is worse? Driving drunk that caused a death, but with a good attorney could set you free, but if you only had a public defender they’d force you to take a plea of many years. The public needs to do the right thing and force change.

In the meantime, the destruction of families, the destruction of a child’s education, children deprived of parents, black children overwhelmingly shoved through juveniles detention with very few people hearing their cries for help. Look at what the system did to Kalief Browder. Remember him? It took him committing suicide to stop the system from putting kids in solitary confinement. I wonder how many times he was raped by guards and predators. We should be ashamed that it was allowed to happen. I know other personal stories of ruined people. All I could do was apologize. I don’t know how to fix it. It makes me sick. I don’t know how the law works, but there are people who do, and we can help them by educating people.

Until the people, us ordinary people, throw our support behind the people who are fighting for change, then it will continue. Get away from TV news, bought and paid for, and use the power of the internet. That doesn’t mean to go to news sites that support what you think. Go to sites that don’t sing to the choir where you can actually learn something.

parents in prison

Take care of the children, especially the children of inmates. They are our future, too. We can change their future and also change the future of the world. So many people like to say we are a Christian nation. I don’t see it by looking at people’s actions. What I see is  hate and judgemental attitude… Is it you?  I don’t know, but you do… I see many harsh words for people who are pro choice. But those who are against abortion, you have the right to your feelings, but are you all talk? Do you do anything at all to help care for the children you say have a right to be born because life is a gift? If you don’t help the children your talk has no meaning. Do something. Be proactive. You reap what you sow.

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Who Will Carry This Torch?

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My last few parts were on the children. This post fits right in. Please take the time and look around his blog. Save all likes and comments for this blog. Thank you.

Poetic Justice

I wrote this poem eleven years ago. I return to it today and just want to weep. What are we doing to our children? Who will save them? Who will carry the torch of knowledge for the next generation and for the generation behind us?

No one to close the windows
when the rain storm pellets their beds.
No one to lock the doors at night
and keep intruders from walking in.
No one to warm up dinner and
feed their craving little bodies.
No one to scare away the dragons
who star in their dreams at night.

Abandoned.
Forsaken.
Forgotten.
Alone.

The children are
thrown away –
labeled incorrigible –
impossible –
beyond our abilities to help.

The achievement gap widens.
The terrain becomes more barren.
The house falls into further decay.
The green in the landscape
slowly
silently
serenely
melds into
grey.

When will
no child
be left

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Children Of Prisoners Reunite With Their Fathers Behind Bars

If this doesn’t make you cry, nothing will.  I found this as I was preparing the next issue of the ITFO Newsletter, which is about the children of inmates.  Since I am still learning the program I couldn’t get this video to play when the newsletter was opened so I decided to post it separate. I’ll be posting the newsletter tomorrow.

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Do We Care About The Children of Inmates?

The lives of children are severely affected when one or both parents are locked up. What happens to these lives as they grow up to be young adults? Do they follow in the same path because they see it as normal, thinking it will also be their future? Black children have been confronted with more of their relatives going to prison than the average white child.  Do they accept it as inevitable because no one taught them there was another path they could take – before it became too late?

jamie cummings
On the left is Jamie Cummings at age 8 who was never told the name of his father and is believed to be in prison. On the right is his son, my grandson, Jamie at age eight. He has only seen his father a few times in prison behind glass. What does he think of this?  How does this affect him? Has anyone asked him how he really feels? I know what his father thinks. This is his deepest grief, not being able to be with his only child.

I want to tell you a story about my own childhood which explains how a child could think the course of their life followed a plan.  Looking back on it my mother and I had a good laugh, but at the time it wasn’t so funny. When I was quite young, I learned my mother was raised by her grandmother, not her mother. She was only four years old. Both of her parents remarried. Neither new step parent wanted her to live with them because admitting there was a child from a previous marriage meant their spouse had been married before. Being divorced was shameful, so she was raised by her grandmother.  When she was 11 years old it went to court for a custody battle and her grandmother was given full custody. Having to go to court was a horrible experience for her, sitting alone in a back room. and it remains a bad memory. At some point she told me about it when I asked her why she wasn’t raised by her parents. I must not have understood it because afterward I was convinced everyone had to go to court when they turned eleven. I had several years of being afraid because the closer I got to eleven the more was scared I became of having to go to court. By the time I reached eleven I matured enough to know I wouldn’t have to go, but not once did I confront my mother about how I felt because I thought I already knew the truth. It may sound silly, but at the time I thought I had no choice. This is the way a young child thinks.

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source credit: hopeformiami.org

How do children deal with life knowing their father mother, or both, is locked up?  How many children grow up and the only visits they remember are in a prison visiting room, often behind a panel of glass with a telephone to speak into? Do we assume they know how to mentally process that?  Are they more apt to think what happened to their parent will be part of their life if they see it all around them? Why would they think their life would be different? Even the act of “stop and frisk”, which was condemned in New York City as racial profiling, are acts children learned by watching what happened by cops who crossed the line by stalking black people for no other reason than because they were black and hoping they would find something on them that warranted an arrest. Is this all black children?  Of course not, but it affects far too many.

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credit source: Mlive.org          This looks like white children are smarter, but the real reason is they aren’t given the same quality of education with equal accessibility of educational programs and materials that cost money to provide.

In addition these children need to get a worthwhile education in schools that are often underfunded or perhaps closed because they are in disrepair or don’t have books and even qualified teachers. Going to a school far away is not easily accessible. Low income families often don’t have enough food and kids only have school lunches too rely on for food. I could go on.  Many of these kids do not graduate.  They fall in line with what others kids do and the cycle continues on. Many youth end up in juvenile detention and even truancy from school is one of the reasons they are put there. They become part of the school to prison pipeline. That becomes the prison to poverty pipeline. No education means no job.  They have no life to go back to when they get out. They have to eat. If they want to be “rehabilitated” there has to be an open path to do that. There are few options. We need to stop this cycle and concentrate on raising capable people. But who cares? “They are just black kids and they get what they deserve,” is the thought of too many people.  This is why there are more black kids than white who are locked up, and more black men than white in prison.

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source credit: breakawayoutreach.org

Blacks have long been sought after to fill the prisons starting with juvenile detention. Teachers have admitted they suspend black children much more often than white children. Is it too late to re-educate teachers about this treatment? Is it too late to re-educate cops? How many teachers would not be able to say out loud that they have been unfair? Their own education probably began with how they were raised and how their own family felt about blacks. But even today many people still believe black people are are less able than white people. They think blacks do more crimes, consume more drugs and the reason there are more blacks than whites in our prisons is because they were born with a gene that makes them want to commit crimes. This has been proven to be a fallacy, but it was what the media has reported and some people believe anything they read if that is what to believe.

But the real reason is so many children were raised themselves with one one parent or relative – if they were lucky – and the foster care system if they weren’t. Mothers can’t be fathers and young boys need the guidance of a man. So many didn’t have the experience of having a family who provided stability. That isn’t a guarantee, but sure helps. Kids look around them and follow the course they have been exposed to and that often leads to prison. At the same time that very system is doing everything they can to lock them up whether they are guilty or not. If this were not true, how could most of the people given pardons be able to prove they are innocent, even after they have 20 plus years imprisoned – and most of them are black people. This is the race that has been blamed for crimes and imprisoned even if they were out of town when the crime was committed.  It didn’t matter.  The police only needed someone – anyone – they could pin the crime on not caring they were ruining not only that person’s life,  but the lives of their children.

Can these children now go out into the world as adults and lead a life they have never lived that makes them acceptable in society? Many don’t even have a GED or work experience and have to look for manual labor jobs. Many test with low IQs – not that they are retarded but because they don’t have enough education to pass simple tests. Children grow up to be adults and they have to live their lives still shackled. Finding a landlord to rent them an apartment is harder than getting a job. So it all goes back to their childhood and not having many of the advantages other children have. The children of inmates become the next generation of parents whose children are on the other side of the fence.

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