Jamie started in the school to prison pipeline at the age of sixteen because a cop had a vendetta against his family. He literally pushed his way into their home, knocked his mother down and broke her wrist. Jamie defended his mother. Was that enough reason to put him in juvenile detention until he was 21, unable to get even a GED? What kind of job was he supposed to get. He might have legally been an adult, but he had no experience to draw on. He had also spent extended time in solitary confinement. In Juvy it was called “Behavior Modification Program” or BMP.

teens a risk, school to prison pipelineI recently started reading a book that was published in 1997. The title is, “No Matter How Loud I Shout -A Year In The Life Of Juvenile Court” – by Edward Humes. It takes place in juvenile courts in LA. The courts then, and now have no idea how to handle children criminals. Some are hardened criminals while still in their early teens and some get mixed up in something and learn their lesson. Some come from the streets and some come from the middle and upper middle income families where they have every opportunity a child could want. The conflict is when to prosecute them as adults. There can’t be one rule that covers everything that changes at an exact moment yet this is what they try to do. Are kids responsible for their actions and at one age. Some get their lives ruined and some get let go until the next crime they commit. It’s a tough call.

During this time this book was written I lived in LA until my children were teens. I went through rough times with my kids. When my son and daughter were 15 and 18 we moved away. I had to get them away. Educating them in public schools was impossible. I pulled them out of bad schools and put them in other bad schools hoping they would be better. But the writing was on the wall if we stayed. We loved north to a small town. My son got his act together and started working hard. My daughter got pregnant and had her first baby at 16.

When I read today about the juvenile courts in LA in the 90’s, knowing how easily it could have been my children I was reading about, it is scary. Today they are 35 and 38 and they have their own teenagers to worry about. It is much worse it today than it was in the 90’s. Kids have less and less respect for teachers or anyone in a position of authority. So many have less respect for themselves as well. They were never taught respect in their homes. Many parents wanted to be “friends” with their children instead of parents. These teenagers I am reading about in this book are in their 30’s now. Are they alive? Are they in prison?

As parents we want to say it won’t happen to our children. It does, and when they grab hold of your child, or your grandchildren, the system doesn’t plan on letting go until they have sucked every possible way of making money from them.  Look at Jamie. He is now 32. He STILL doesn’t have a GED. Without that, how can he take other educational courses? How can he learn about something he is interested in when he doesn’t even know what that is?

Are there bad kids out there? Absolutely. Bad parents in bad neighborhoods, and bad parents in good neighborhoods. Some parents don’t want to believe their child would do these things, but they do. There is a saying, “If you continue to do what you always done you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.” Parents need to have a better perception of the life outside their children are exposed to. There is no one protecting them. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you are from or how much money you make. Some of the things my children tell me now they did 20 years ago had my jaw on the floor, similar to the things I told my parents long after the fact. We were lucky. Really lucky. Not everyone is.

In the past few years “The Law” has upped the ante. Now, instead of handling disciplinary issues that previously called for detention, being sent to the principle’s office or parents were called – now it is the police who called, who come and handcuff the children in the classroom and escort them out. Quite often the police are already located on school grounds replacing guidance counselors. They are also often taken into a courtroom in handcuffs, too. Why? Do the officers fear for their safety or is it for effect? Often the reason is not justified and does untold damage to the child’s self-esteem. Sadly, this affects black children more than it does white children and even Hispanic children. White children learn early in life that black is not as good as white and they carry that attitude into their adult lives and a new generation of racist attitudes is born.

An already bad situation with juvenile courts has been made worse. More adult criminals are cultivated. Black children learn their lives don’t have as much value. The juvenile courts are so overcrowded. There is no time for anyone to care. We need to do more to help in some way. Too many people are short in help and long in opinions and the children are thrown under the bus.

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

 

15 thoughts on “Prison, We Must Do Better for At-Risk Teens

    1. I’m reading a book right now published in 1997 about Juvenile courts in Los Angeles when thelaws starting trying kids as adults. It’s more complicated with kids. Yes the do crimes but the reasons why they do is because of violent families and neighborhoods. When A child goes to prison consider him lost for good. It’s gotten worse in 17 years. Yes, some kids are gang members but not all. Most don’t have parents who care and are in foster care. It’s easier to lock them all up. No one has the time or money to help them. It’s a sad situation.

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      1. SONNI, I TRIED HIS INMATE NO. AFTER 3 SITES,I FOUND A FORM FROM TEXAS PRISON. I WAS SUPPOSED TO GIVE PERSONAL INFO PLUS CREDIT CARD NO. SO JAMIE COULD RECEIVE WHAT I BUY HIM???? NO WAY.UNLESS I KNOW JAMIE’S GETTING IT. I GIVE NOTHING. @CommDirect???.DO YOU KNOW THIS FORM?

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        1. There is only one site you need to go to http://jpay.com. There is place to search for an inmate. I don’t remember if you have to put in his state. Use his ID number and it will pull him up. There is a link to buy stamps. The minimum is ten If you wrote a long letter they might charge you 2 stamps If you attach a photo it costs a stamp. Jpay is the only system where you can send an email. Since he is in ad seg – administrative segregation – getting mail is a highpoint of the day. They know someone on the outside is thinking about them. It really makes a difference and helps them keep it together. He will write back to you. To save a stamp he will probably include it in a letter to me and I will mail it to you.

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        2. Commdirect is where someone can select up to $50 products from the commissary for them 3 months -if they have that privilege. Jamie doesn’t. His level is too low. He did reach it 2 times in all these years. They can only spend so much a month from the money on their books so if they wanted to but something they needed that was expensive like shoes or clothing then someone on the outside could send food ( choice of food is mostly junk food ) Commissary items are used like money. So are stamps. The would throw him in ad seg if he had too many stamps at one time. I can’t put a lot of money on his books so it is mostly used for necessities. Deodorant, soap, paper and envelopes and stamps. His mother has never helped him. I don’t understand that. She knows he calls me mom.

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  1. Thank you for all your wisdom shared in your response. Yes, I do question why there are some prayers which remained unanswered by the Almighty, though I have convinced myself of the fact perhaps the reason He does not answers my request is either not the appropriate time, of probably was not the best course of action for me. Of course, this is just my reasoning, but I get very angry at Him. Too much has happened during my life course, as well as my children. They grew up with me drilling them to fear of God, and to practice what is good and just, and to be not self-righteous, but righteous. Yet, among my whole family, we are so far the most unfortunate, considering all we’ve been through. Now, as you have mentioned, I can’t help but questioning, is there a piece of the puzzle missing? Though I still revered and trust Him, and trust that He knows best. But what the hell? I see those who practice and even teach their children the path of corruption are better off! Yet look at us Lord, still struggling. Yesterday, I was at my witts end, truly lost all hope, till my daughter revealed her despair as well. I did not sleep last night, tossing… with questions I don’t seem to have answers.

    Perhaps the law of the cause and effect may just be what I need to learn now. After all, it did help Tina Turner, in the movie “What’s love got to do with it?” lol
    As for the criminals? Based on the information my daughter provided the detectives, they were able to trace the ring of corruption. He told me I was lucky, because they would have killed my daughter. The organization is branched all the way in North Carolina, a team of child pornography, child abduction, and prostitution. I’m sad to say, the family I trusted was from Haïti, where I’m originally from. The town which they were from led me to conclude my girls were targeted, it was planned. because even some members of my family already knew. I guess I should have lost my mind, but I have to say it was by God’s grace, I was spared, ans so my girls. The fact is I knew no other source. Perhaps I should give due credit to my ancestors as well??? I really don’t know.

    Lastly, I agree with you. America is not just a Christian… and whatever the family’s faith is should be taught at home as well. But prayer or meditation however you wish to call it, would certainly make a difference!

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    1. What you went through was horrible. It’s hard to imagine what you went through.

      Go back and read what you wrote as though you are someone else and read it for the first time. You still have faith and trust in something did absolutely nothing for you and you make excuses for the lack of help by saying it wasn’t the appropriate time. With this way of thinking God can’t lose. No matter what happens, good or bad you have an answer that gives him an excuse. how could you possible say he knows best. What if your daughter didn’t come out of this okay – would you say the same thing? What made this turn out okay was your sheer determination. There is power our there – but it isn’t a power that says one day it’ll be there for you and the next day it won’t. But you are right – you had nowhere else to turn. You used the only thing you knew. But there no outside source that fixes your problems – it come from inside. IF there was a just and loving god and it sat back and didn’t answer my prayer when it is something so tragic, that alone would make me wonder what it is I was thinking was going to be there when I needed it. But this teaching is ingrained in you. It is hard to not believe in something you have tried your entire life to believe in. It would be like me saying you had to stop loving your children. You couldn’t do that. You can’t just stop believing what you believe. It comes gradually as you see the proof of what you learn. When you understand the law of cause and effect and how it impacts your life you begin to understand. I chant. The words aren’t magic. Nam myoho renge kyo. It is a rhythm. Chanting is a meditation except that it is physical cause, not just in the head. The universe runs on a rhythm. There is so much I can’t explain in a blog reply. go to http://sgi-usa.org and read. Get a basic understanding and see if you want to learn more.

      Cause and effect is passed down through life. The causes you make effect generation to come and generations behind. The cycle of life continues through birth, aging, sickness and death and then starts all over again. I think you are ready to learn more so you can understand why this happened to you and how to change it, learn from it and make sense of it. Leaving it up to the whim of God whether he wants to fix it definitely didn’t do anything for you. If you believe he chose that now wasn’t the right time I’d be pretty pissed off at him. There was nothing there with the capability of hearing you.

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      1. I can’t explain the “why” and yes, I have quite a few o them” However I cannot shake off all the facts which still compelled me to believe in a higher power. I can’t even dare say I’m a normal person. For what I have encountered even prior to my birth, now during my short life here on earth is beyond the norm. I’m a rejected fetus, despised by my mother even from her womb. Although she drunk all the remedies know to destroy a child, in our culture, she still did not succeed. At last the day she was going to see a doctor, (which was done in secret back then) a strange man came to talk to her. And after he reasoned with her, he realized she still did not change her mind, he revealed to her then, I would be a baby girl. He even told her she would not be able to abort me. Later on, even the doctor refused to perform the abortion, when he felt I was playing soccer in her womb.

        From my early childhood, I was able to see angels. As I got older, when I thought those vivid memories were just a child futile imagination, I was told otherwise. After an incident in my late twenties, I started having vivid encounters with them again. In fact I count up to three particular instances when they appeared in human forms, to shortly disappear after the y had delivered their messages.

        There are days I can hear their warnings as clear as daylight. In fact the morning I forced my daughter to talk to me, prior to her captivity, was after a vivid dream. As I was waking up, I was still able to hear his voice.

        Till this day, I don’t count myself as the most fortunate woman on earth for having the ability to see those glorious beings, but at least I hold dear the fact there must be a Higher power who created them. I’ve had two outer body experiences, during one I was practically dead, while being carried to higher realm, beauty was beyond words expression. So I cannot ignore my personal encounters. I know He does exist. Like I said, I don’t understand why things don’t turn out the way I would expect them. Perhaps this is why I’ve met you. There might be another realm of knowledge which I need to explore, perhaps may even be “His” answer to my prayers. He does work in mysterious ways. And yes, I do believe we do have a power within, which can empower us to do anything we desire. This is the area I need to cultivate. If you can help me, I would gladly accept your offer.

        Thanks again for taking the time to reason with me.

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        1. You have definitely had quite a life from the very beginning. I can see you have tried hard to make sense of things – with the only way you knew how. That is all anyone can do. But you are searching, and that is the way to begin. Is hard to get into depth in the comment section of a blog. Did you go to the website I gave you. That is the best place to begin.

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  2. Ou society is messed up all right! We’ve exchanged prayer for gun in our school system. Those who were called to be leaders of righteousness ar nothing but vapours of corruption. Darkness is preferred over light, so what should we expect?
    After I sacrificed my life to raise my three girls, up till the youngest was fifteen, the couple friends I welcomed in my house were always complimenting me, for the fact the girls were always home, if not reading, they were engaging among themselves… yet an S.O.B. managed to seduce my youngest through a friend at school, then exposed her to child prostitution. Had it not been for the grace of God, my daughter would have been shipped to human trafficking one Thursday. In a dream, I was revealed the pending tragedy, after my other girls and I struggled to understand my younger daughter’s sudden lack of interest in shool and or weekly family movie night. I watched my daughter slowly suffocating, from what the nightmare she was dragged into, while all along the jerks kept on taking pictures of us, so they can continue to blackmail her to surrender to sell herself into human trafficking. They told her if she said a word to us, they would harm us. I would shortly find out this whole wicked plot was all planned, it was not a mere accident. While I was busy focussing on my children, loving other children, this is the reward I receive from my community. Since, our family has never been the same. I still wake up sometimes as if I’m reliving the same nightmare. I watched my daughters, and say a prayer. At least He was still on His throne, for the plot could have succeeded. I’m a firm believer that everyone who participated in this wicked plot will eventually receive what they deserve. So I just let time take its course.
    I share my story to encourage the mothers ou there. Yes, it’s a tough world. Sometimes even or great contribution, or investment in our children lives is not sufficient to prevent them from experiencing the worse this world has to offer out there. But, I still believe there is no other source more powerful than a mother’s genuine prayer. After we done all we can humanly possible do, why no seek the favor from the Higher power? Why not the community get together to pray for the youth? They need it. Who better can protect them from the prison, with all the corruption going on? Yes, we can seek other resources, but I offer you what I have, what has kept me till this day from losing my mind, from losing my daughters, although we are still tested beyond … but we are slowly recovering. So try it, for your children, your grandchildren and for Jamie, and see what happens.

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    1. I read this the other day and wanted time to
      digest it. I am so sorry. You read about

      things like this but never think it will
      happen to you. The hard part as a mother is
      knowing I it has affected your daughter in
      ways that haven’t even manifested yet in future relationships. Am I reading this right – did your community have something to do
      with this? It was planned? Did they get caught? You are right We can’t protect our children – no matter how old they get.

      We practice two different religions but one thing is common – the power of prayer. Itis a way of focusing your energy – your determination to move mountains. Yes, I do believe there is a power greater than ourselves. We can harness that power – get in rythmn with it. The main difference we have in that power is that I don’t put a human being’s emotions, desires and thoughts onto that power. I think it translated to that over time out of a need to feel loved and protected and when bad things happen that we can’t figure out why it makes sense to us that something outside of ourselves wanted us to go through it. Hence – God works in mysterious ways and everyone around us agrees. It tells us we aren’t supposed to understand it because we don’t know what God’s plan is. Why our how could you possibly want to “seek favor” from this power? Because that means you think he could look at you individually and turn you down if he felt like it. Maybe God was having a bad day. And since all prayers aren’t answered that means a conscious choice was made by an almighty powerful being with feelings and emotions didn’t love you that day. And this makes sense to you? A power in the universe you think has the capacity to love? If so then he also feels every other emotion.Jealousy and hate. How about remorse? If you don’t worship him he’ll cause catastrophic weather to happen to your enemies? Have you ever looked seriously at what and you believe you do and how little sense it makes? Yes, I pray. But I don’t ask a being out there to make things better and wait to see if he’s listening to me. If he was so powerful shouldn’t he be listening and answering your prayers every day instead of only sometimes? I pray -chant – for wisdom. I pray to change the part of my nature that makes me react to things in my life in a negative and then making more bad causes. I pray for the happiness of my friends and family. I prayed for my deceased family and friends. I pray with appreciation what I have learned about the endless cycle of life. Yes, it is focus and determination we pray with that gives US the power to change our lives. Always strive for truth, even if that truth is different from what you thought. There is more to learn than you think. I’m not saying you should stop believing today what you believe. It isn’t possible. It would be like saying as of today you should stop loving your children. That isn’t possible. What I am saying is to open your mind to greater possibilities. These words: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is Japanese for the law of cause and effect. Nothing happens by accident. There is a reason our lives crossed.

      One last thing. You opened talking about prayer in school. I agree. The schools are in a bad place – for many reasons. But we need to keep religion out of schools and politics. Religion should be taught in the home and church. If it isn’t taught there then praying in school isn’t going change anything. This is not a one religion country. It was never meant to be. America was meant to be a place where people could practice whatever their faith. About 80 years ago our pledge was changed and our money was changed to ‘in God we trust’.And what about the millions of people this doesn’t apply to? This is not a Christian nation. It is a multi religion nation even if don’t agree with what they say.

      You will always have obstacles and challenges to overcome. I don’t think God is testing you to see if you still believe. That would be petty. You are a strong woman. You have been through something no parent would want to. I commend your courage and determination. Your children are fortunate to have you as their mother.

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