A week our so ago I chance upon a video of a segment from the TV show Frontline.  I watched it. It was heartbreaking. After the tragedy of Kalief Browder who committed suicide after three years in an adult prison as a teenager many people are more sensitive to the atrocities inflicted on youth, as well as adults, when they are made to endure years of solitary confinement. This young man, Alonza Thomas, spent 6 of a 13 year year sentence locked up in a cell by himself “for his own protection”, if you no what I mean.

I tracked him down and we talked face to face on video chat. What I found was a very scared, very lonely boy, because his life experiences not only didn’t allow him to grow up, he was scared of life as he now saw it. He had lived under such strict rules and had no idea now how to live life where he had the ability to set his own rules for himself.

He had violent experiences he can’t talk about because it makes him go to the “dark place” that is hard to get out of. I don’t know how much contact his family had with him during those years but I doubt it was enough. He, like Jamie, was moved to 6 different prisons and the distance often is makes it difficult. Time finished it off. Out of sight out of mind. The prison intends to destroy his mental health.

They threw him a party, as I imagine Jamie’s will, but then, because he is a grown man they will expect him to figure it out on his own with no knowledge of how to do that. He gets no help now so why expect they will help later? They won’t.

Alonza’s family expected him to figure it. Maybe they tried. Maybe when he didn’t fit in with his family of strangers they let him go. Whatever the reason, he spent the next 6 months sleeping in the park. He tried to go to a shelter but they required the men to shower together every day in one big room. Because of things that happened with the men in prison he is scared of being around men in any capacity, especially that one, so he was made to leave.

He hasn’t had contact with his mother in a year. Why? Is he not normal enough? Is he not her son anymore? I don’t have the answers. There is always more than one side to every story. I know I don’t have the complete story.

But this I do know – this would be Jamie’s story. Locked up before 17 with one year outside from 21 to 22. If Alonza had someone like me to reach in and grab hold could it have helped to have a different outcome? If someone had been able to teach him would it have made a difference? Why is it so important to me that I dedicate my life to changing even one person’s life?

Because . . . The only legacy we ever leave behind is the affect we have on other people’s lives.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison.com . . .Blog posts and other injustice in the world

6 thoughts on “The Stickup Kid

  1. People who have access to resources, and some countervailing influence; someone whose presence and love mitigates the damage, can often grow up to shake off the trauma and move on…not without scars…but without self destructing.

    To some extent I used the power of imagination to provide myself with the mitigating love…I didn’t fully realize this until I began to correspondence between my alternates. Especially the correspondence between Sara and Bobby.

    Sara is a Mother introject and Bobby is a teen. When Bobby is out, he’s not an old man who is pretending to be a teenager. Psychologically he is a teenager. When he looks into a mirror he sees a teenager. I’m perfectly fine with being old…in fact…
    I’ve never felt more empowered. But I am not the part of me that is stuck in adolescence and I am not the part of me that is a little boy who became a girl to please his Mother. That’s what Sara is.

    Bobby was the first alternate to join Second Life. He wanted to find a virtual “Dad”
    because he knew something was wrong and he thought that if he found a Father
    it would make him “better”…

    What he found was an online pedophile knew that DID kids are like real kids. Bobby used a very young looking avatar in SL. He still does but over the past five years he has “grown up” because of therapy. This guy sought him out at a Second Life group for people with DID and began grooming him. It was a terrible, re-traumatizing situation. In his confusion he wrote to Sara and this was her reply.

    Prison is traumatizing…so whatever fouled this person up is made worse by placing them in an environment that does not help them to become adults, but reduces them to the most helpless of children; and then abuses them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the post from Sara. And yes, what happened to this man is common. That is why they put them in solitary confinement. For their own safety. But which is worse. Either way is a bad deal.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He and I talked for hours the other day on video chat. I have never seen someone so lonely They destroyed him. You can’t keep a child in solitary confinement like that and expect him to be okay. Someone put some of his writings on a WordPress blog. I’m going to add that to the post itself today if you’d like to read them. Do you have a facebook page?

      His story is so similar to Jamie’s. This is what I have been concerned about. It’s not about just making it through the prison sentence, it is about what comes next.Not only surviving physically, but dealing with life mentally; coping with people and freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

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