Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THIS is what bothers me!

It bothers me when I hear that some of the children in prison are mentally ill.

It bothers me when I hear that some of the mentally ill children are actually placed in adult prison facilities.

It bothers me when I hear that other prisoners tease, torment and injure these children.

It bothers me when we receive reports that prison staff members also mistreat these children, and not only mistreat them, but sexually tamper with them!

(James Bell said: Our justice system is one of the few unaccountable systems in the country. It doesn't make decisions based on best practices...or in the best interest of the young people and families involved. The decision makers can administer this misery and not take any responsibility for the outcome.)

BUT WHAT REALLY BOTHERS ME is when we encounter mentally ill children in prison with no advocate. In our most recent case the lad was injured, and so now he has been placed in segregation in an adult prison for his own protection (an exceptional way to treat a mentally ill child!), which means he is in his cell 23 hours a day. He reports that, for his one hour of recreation a day, he is alone, because of his age! His mother has two other sons in prison, has no way to visit him, is not even on his visitor list, and he has no one else! In his letter to HFP: Please, anyone, help me!

I think of the words of Rachel Carson: If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

Randy doesn't have that. And it keeps me awake at night.

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