Can we talk about jail?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    my difficult child is in jail. He missed two hearings, one for criminal mischief (he was thrown out of an apartment and broke a tv on the way out) and one for obstruction of passage (probably begging). He never paid the guy for his $1500 flat screen. I went to one of his court hearings with him (last time he was in jail), and he stayed with me for 3 weeks after. He swore to me, actually volunteered to me, that he was taking his lithium daily and also going to AA. the night he packed up and left (because I had a 10 PM curfew for him on (my) worknights)) he told me had never taken lititum, not been going to AA, and had been drinking or getting stoned most days.
    Anyway. He got picked up for begging, they uncovered the bench warrants, and at court today they said he had to serve 10 days in jail (last time he was in for 4 total), and then can get out on bail before his trial.
    There is the rub.
    I got a call from his public defender today who was very earnest and clearly going out of her way to help him...said she'd had a good talk with him, could see that he was mentailly ill and also presumable had drug issues, and discovered that his younger brothers and twin sister went to the same high school she had gone to. So she called to alert me that I could post his bail 24 hours/day, and I could post just 10%--she said I could somehow be sure that I wasn't liable for the other 90%, but google research doesn't confirm that...still, I assume she knows what she is talking about. She said "jail isn't a place for anyone" and she said if I didn't post bail he would stay in jail until his hearing. I think that is weeks or even a few months, but I don't know for sure.
    She also said he could get a case worker through her office, access to medications, services, etc. He has had those in the past (I arranged the caseworker when he turned 18) but never availed himself and ultimately lost the opportunity through a series of no shows. He can get his medications and psycho therapy through a program set up for him at his last psychiatric hosptalization from the summer, but he doesn't. So....although I believe his only hope is to start again with a caseworker, I also do not have any reason to htink he would actually follow through.
    And I am pretty damn sure he won't go to court if I post 10% bail.
    I can lose the 10%--I could chose to give him a chance and know I'll likely lose it. Is that my role as mom? Maybe.
    But the young man who lived in my house and lied to me every day, and busted up some one's tv, some one who had reached out a helping hand and never paid for it, some one who repeatedly blew off court dates, --doesn't he deserve to be in jail?
    But I don't know anything about jail. For the most part people who do know about it say it is no place for anyone...not a place to learn respect, or repentence or anything.
    So as his mom should I keep him out of there?
    My gut says he should stay and take his licks.
    Which makes me pretty sure that I am just a bitter pissed off woman with an angry heart.
    Or maybe my gut is right, that at a minimum he doesn't deserve to be tossed a lifeline, and at best maybe he really will get scared straight.
    Or maybe I'm totally wrong and if I get him out after 10 days he'll hook up with a caseworker and get back on track.
    Although nothing in my experience with him should make me expect that.
    Do any of you have any experience with jail? Should I do everything I can to keep him out? Or do I stay out of it and let the legal system roll?
    My ex (his dad) will split the 10% if I want, but sort of feels as I do. He is not in on the whole 5K. My SO was thoughtful and will support whatever I decide, but feels that David is less likely to actually die (or an overdose, drug-addled fall, drug addled freeze to death) than he is on the street, which is a plus. Also , as I do, that David has repeatedly lied to us and determinedly chosen a path that leads to now he is in jail, and we should stay out of it.
    I want to know what you all have experienced, or think, or how you react to the idea of either bailing him out or letting him stay.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Let him stay in jail. Past behavior dictates future behavior and your entire post is about how he has not availed himself to help, he lies, he has no remorse, you and your ex both feel he should stay.......follow your gut.

    I faced the same situation 2 years ago with my adult daughter. After much soul searching and help on this site, I left her in jail. She made stupid choices to get out and as a result now has a record which she would not have had had she listened to the attorney. I didn't pay for anything at all except a little money on her "books" so she could buy toothpaste and better food.

    Many of us here have been in your exact shoes and from what I've read, many if not most, leave the kid in jail. Sometimes they learn, often they don't. It isn't about jail, it's that most of our kids just won't make the choices that would in fact help them, they prefer to do things their own way, which is mostly against all reason and rules. I believe you are right to follow up on how YOU feel, you know him best and out here it sounds like he would be better off in jail.

    Often we feel they are better off in jail, off the streets, warm, fed, and we can sleep at night knowing they are not out there freezing or being hurt. I don't think jail is pleasant at all, but your son got himself there, he should face the consequences of his behavior. That's real life.

    The public defender has no idea what you already know about him, she is likely honestly trying to help. She may even judge you. We get that a lot here. But no one knows what we go through with our kids but those of us here or those of us dealing with troubled kids.

    Your post sounds as if you really already know what to do, sounds as if you are seeking acknowledgement for what you already know to be the truth and the right thing to do. Let go and let him face what he created.

    Sorry you have to even go through this, it's so hard on us to know what to do............but I think you are heading in the right direction.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our role as Mom changes as our kids get older. When they are ten or fourteen and get into trouble, it sure is our responsibility to try to help them. But your son is no longer a minor. It is not your responsibility to post his bail forever and he is eighteen now. If you know in your heart that he isn't going to follow through with the caseworker, I actually think he is safer in jail than on the streets. At least he can't wander around late at night and he does get meals and a bed, although it may not be comfortable. I'm guessing that his friends outside of jail are criminals and have mostly been in jail too so I don't see a big difference.

    It is your son's responsibility once he gets out to follow through with the help he is being offered. You know from experience that you can't do it for him. This is just a thought. Maybe if you aren't there to bail him out or to walk behind him to catch him in case he falls he will actually see that he has to do something to change his life or that nobody is going to take responsibility for his mistakes. It is much easier for him to change at his younger age than when he is thirty and you two are still doing this dance.

    A parent in my opinion should not have to care for a grown child. If the grown child is disabled there are supports that can help him/her become the most independent he possibly can be, but it always comes down to the adult child's willingness to work hard and do it.

    None of us can live forever. I swear, having a difficult child has the capacity to lower our life span as much as cigarettes if we allow the stress to get to us. We are good to nobody if we aren't here anymore, and we all deserve to have wonderful golden years without being tied to our adult children's poor choices.

    This is all JMO. I see some people in their 70's taking care of adult 'children" in their 50's. It is sad and a waste of life. I don't want that to happen to you. To be honest and fair, though, none of my kids ever were in jail. My daughter who did serious drugs at one time, however, was in the justice system for most of her teen years. If she hadn't gotten her head on straight, she could very well have ended up in jail. Once she turned eighteen, she knew that if she did end up there she would NOT be bailed out. Maybe that helped keep her from breaking the law too badly. Who know?

    Hugs and understanding from me.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi -

    Forgive me for not knowing your situation or background - Oh wait. Yeah I have a son, he's 23, he's mentally ill, he's jerked me around his ENTIRE life, and I've tried to FIX everything because I too thought without MY 'HELP' aka / INTERFERNCE he would not /could not seek it on his own -and what was that which would happen.......(oh yeah he'd live his life and....I'd live mine) and he would eventually "get" A SMACK ON THE NOSE FROM THE REAL WORLD. Well yup. A four year prison term is what he got. Not jail - prison. And two felonies. Wanna know what he thinks of me not interfering in his life? He thinks it's great. -Really. Well at first he was petty mad. I mean being homeless, and living out of dumpsters, and not getting money from home was tough, but we told him that's what happens when you do what you do and do not listen or follow the rules. Like our rules at home, or the rules of a job, or landlord, or room mate. Weird huh? WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? GAWD - :disgust: I mean you should just be able to do what youwant to how you want to and when you want to where you want to. RIGHT? Well when you can not do that?? YOU end up in JAIL and mad at Who??? Yourself. So when no one person bails you out - but one person does put a few bucks here and there on your commissary so you can get soap and razors - because the state approved razors tear up your face, and you literally get written up for not shaving? And Mom is the only person who writes to you and everyone else forgets you exist? And now school is a privilege - so you beg to go s you can get out of your cell....yeah... jail is good. Prison can be even better........because it IS no place you want to be. AND no place you want to go back to-so you may........just maybe learn something about how good you had it. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS. Doesn't mean it isn't hell on you - because it stinks .........but I'd bet Dude is not going back. lock down 23/7 in a 6/8 with bad food ------means something to him.

    Just my .05 worth. Take it or leave it. And fyi county jail is worse sometimes than prison due to overcrowding so I'm told. :eek:
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Amen Star (great to see you) I agree making him face these consequences now might save his life or prevent him from serving life for something more serious later.

    For Angel getting arrested a couple years ago was the best thing that could have happened for her; not just facing the consequences but the realization mom wasn't going to patch this for her.

  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ok ladies! I appreciate that tough love kick in the pants! I'll try. He called tonight and was crushed when I said I might not make bail.. He is never hostile or aggressive, so the sadness and fearfulness was hard to hear.
    I'm gonna try to hold tight. Not honestly sure I can do it.
  7. 3boyzmom

    3boyzmom New Member

    My thoughts are with you. My challenge is sitting in county jail for the second time this year. Now he will have two felonies and the first deferred sentence will be revoked so I think he will go to prison. My heart aches but I refuse to bail him out due to his lying and not following any rules. I cry everyday but hope and pray that this will turn his life around. At least I know he is warm and getting food daily, not drinking or doing drugs and possibly hurting someone else.

    The "tough love" is tough on the parents but I'm hoping the end result will be worth it!
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Hi 3boyz
    Hugs and handholding to you. You are right to not bail him out. Let's try to steady each other through this challenge.
  9. 4now

    4now Member

    Please don't bail your son out. I went through this with my difficult child last year. His then girlfriend came up with the 10% but they still needed me to sign? I did it because of his promises and an assurance from his boss that he still had his $70,000 a year job. long story short, he lost his job because of his behaviors, drinking, etc. he missed his court date and the judge gave me 2 weeks to get him into court. I did everything I could to get him there I even begged him to no avail. I ended up having to pay $10,000. I could not afford. my son ended up getting arrested for something unrelated 4 weeks later. He got 1 year for the original sentence and 1 month for skipping court and costing me 10,000. He did 4 months and was released. He went right back to his same behavior. PLEASE don't follow my bad choice, it put a financial strain on my family and a huge burden on my heart.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I also am in the camp with not bailing him out. The court appointment attorney is wrong. If you sign for his bail and he doesnt go, they can make you pay for the remainder of the bail by taking something from you worth that amount. Or put a judgement on you.

    We used to bail my son out but we used his money. I could be fairly sure he would go to his court dates because he was living at home and I checked the website for court dates every few days so he wouldnt miss one. Now that he isnt in my home, nope, no bailing out because he has missed one and if the bondsman wanted to he could go after his father because that is who signed for that bond. Wouldnt do them much good because his dad has nothing in his name.

    I dont think jail is so bad. Prison either. I watch two shows quite often and they are LockUp and Jail. If you watch them you will learn that things are not so bad.

    I would put money on his books from time to time and write to him. You dont have to put much money on his books for it to make a difference. Star is actually right too...I think prison is better. They have more programs there.

    Believe me I know how hard it is to make this decision. They call from jail promising the world but they dont follow through when they get out.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We let Belle sit in jail for 3 months... They released her, but she hasn't been sentenced yet (?!). Don't bail him out. He needs to learn natural consequences (caveman: break law, lock up).
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That conflict between what we know we want to do and who that makes us is the fire at the heart of every destructive thing that happens to those of us coping with difficult child kids, Echolette. Whatever you do, there will be those (most likely, the difficult child, in years to come, as he or she seeks to justify his actions and their outcomes) who put the blame squarely

    Whether we do or do not do the "right" thing, we are going to be blamed for whatever it was we did. difficult child kids seldom turn things around.

    On the other hand, it is only money. husband swears the money is worth the peace of mind, because he is so sick of thinking about any of it.

    And you know where that got us.

    Whatever you decide to do Echolette, the battle is going to be in not focusing that destructive energy back onto yourself. Whatever you decide, there is no blame for the outcome. Bless yourself, take your shot based not on what difficult child needs, but on what you need to do to be free of it, and refuse to second guess yourself. Post that on a mirror, somewhere.

    I always do the best I know.

    It is the situation that is impossible.

    You did not create the situation. You cannot protect the difficult child. The situation will probably arise, again.

    If it were me? I would not pay the bail. When difficult child son first started getting into trouble, he wound up in jail over something to do with a headlight. It really was not a fair situation. But there were things going wrong with difficult child son. Bad grades, truancy, bad friends. So, believing it would be better for him to have a taste of what was coming for him if he didn't straighten out, I left him in jail. Parents of his friends called, wanting to bail him out for us, assuming we did not have the money. How shaming! But, I refused. We got to look like real jerks over that one. Their child went on to go to prison, one day.

    My difficult child son has never spent another night in jail.

    That I know of, anyway.

    Not that I get any credit for that. Just the opposite.

    Whatever you do, Echolette, remember that the true goal here is to survive the never ending attacks on our persons, our lifestyles, our self images and our self esteem that is the inevitable result of coping with difficult child kids.

    I used to pound a pillow until I could bring the emotions up and then, bury my face in it and scream into it. It was like, a hygenic cleansing ritual for me. Easy, cheaper and far less time-consuming than seeing a therapist. (Though I saw many a therapist too, eventually.)

    Whatever. Here I am today, as normal and well adjusted as the day is long.

    Just ask my kids.


    Which is so not funny I should go get that freaking pillow out right now.


  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    thank you for reinforcing what I know is right. I have to say he sounds so hopeful/miserable on the phone that it is hard to hold the line, but I think I will/can. Seems like he won't be in for more thatn 20 days most likely anyway...even today he was trying to tell me he had money to pay some of his existing fines--he said he had $1100 in the bank, when just two weeks ago he told me he had spent all his SSI money on a "binge" he is lying even now, or was lying usual, I can't tell, it is all one fiction.
    but I'm pretty sure your story will be my story if I post bail. So thank you for remindnig me of that.
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I think that is a simple rule I can try to remember: break law, lock up. Lie to mom and take advantage of her love and trust, no bail.
  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ah, Cedar. You are so right about the shaming. I feel so judged, and I judge myself. I know people must wonder what is wrong with me, what goes on in my house...and sometimes i wonder myself. difficult child's twin, who was a difficult child herself for a good 5 years, at one point threatened me with "what are you going to do, send me to a wilderness treatment? two kids? what will people say about YOU". and that was terrifying to me (I shoulda slapped her, she was one manipulative girl).
    and you are right about the loss of hope, of dreams, as you have posted before. Because I can feel that little stirring of hope when he talks ...I said "what are your plans" and he said, I'll go to my court date, I'll pay you back, I'll get a job....and he reminded me of the good things he's done, that he rarely if ever misses a date with me when he makes one, taht he was emotionally supportive of me when my husband (his dad) left, that he was the first one of my kids to accept my SO...he remind me and I hope again for a sweet kind boy to grow up into a sweet kind young man...but that is not who he is.
    I spoke to a friend today, another public defender. To my shock he thought I should post bail AND pay the difficult child's fines for busting up some one's TV/apartment. He said I should get him out from under for a fresh start. I could feel myself sinking again into the "what kind of mother are you" shame.
    I'm not going to do what he said. difficult child walked this path of his own volition. He has nothing better to do than be in jail anyway. The system will work as systems do, he'll get out, and he'll either avail himself of services this time or not. But I won't be his stooge.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We parents of differently wired kids need to develop "rhino skin." That phrase was used a lot when I first came on here some ten years ago. I like it. We have to learn not to care what anyone thinks of our house, our possible parenting (the fantasy in their minds about us), or the idea that THEY could have have done better. Sure.

    Most people are self-absorbed and not dwelling on your son for more than a minute at a time. They have their own lives, their own troubles (whether you can see them or not) and most people have the attention span of a fly with ADHD. No sooner do they think about you than they are thinking about something else. If it is your family who is bugging you, I strongly suggest setting boundaries and telling Mom or auntie or Cousin Lou or Uncle Roy that you prefer not to talk about difficult child so that if they are calling you to talk about him, you do not want to share what is going on with him. Then you can tell them that if they do bring him up, you will gently hang up the phone or quietly leave the room or even the house. They are not entitled to know about your child, especially if they criticize you. Nobody has a right to be unkind to you because of your son's choices.

    There are very few acquaintances of mine who even know about 36. Since he lives in another state and never visits, no reason to confide in them about his issues. Not like they'd understand anyway. The few who know about him hear about him on my terms, when I feel like telling them, and these are people I know I can trust.

    The only one who knows what went on in your house is yourself and your son. Let people make up whatever stories they want if it makes them feel better. If you think about it, why does it even matter?

    Your friend who is a public defender must be very idealistic, have no understanding of the stuff your son is doing and must have money to burn...or think you do. He certainly doesn't have a difficult child child! I would hold fast and let your son suffer the natural consequences of breaking the law.

  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Echolette, we parents here go through so much self doubt and we suffer so for what our kids do. As a veteran of these battles, one thing I have found to be true is that when we stop judging ourselves so harshly, blaming ourselves, making ourselves responsible for the behavior and choices of our adult kids, then others stop judging us too. Perhaps it's simply that we are not complicit in their blame of us anymore and therefore don't see it or acknowledge it, but it ceases to exist. The line that always made sense to me is, "what you think of me is none of my business." Period.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Everyone is giving you good advice. In my experience they dont learn until we wont help. My son ended up having to stay in jail for a 30 day period. I was so fed up with him at that point that we had an all out argument before he went in and I refused to so much as write him or put money on his books. Much later I found some letters he was sending to his girlfriend and he was very mad at me and he was gonna show me by leaving my What a punishment to me! Honestly now I cant take him staying over at my house for more than a few days before I am ready for him to get out of my sight. He was here for a few days the weekend before this last one and I finally just told him to go home, I was tired. I understood him staying over on Saturday night because he had a really bad migraine and was just pitiful. He ended up sleeping in my bed with me comforting him and putting ice packs on his head. He still wasnt feeling all that well on Sunday so I said he could stay over that night too. When I found out he went out Sunday night to play cards, that was it. He had to leave on Monday.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm glad you like my caveman... :biggrin:

    Anyway, yes. We wonder what we did/are doing/will do wrong. But I see it this way: husband had 3 kids when I met him; 1 from his first marriage that he had not seen in 10 years, 2 from his second that he was in the middle of a bitter custody battle for. Kid #1 got whatever we could spare when we could find him and his mother (they were on the run for a while from wife #2). No formal support agreement but we did our best (and I do mean WE, and I also know what husband did before he met me). difficult child. Then Belle and Pat - two completely different kids and also completely different from difficult child #1. And now, Rose. All 4 kids are totally different. Middle two spent a lot of time with bio, and husband and me... But they are still completely different. It's not always what you do! And I did the best I could with what I knew - which is why I don't put up with as much from Pat... And Rose, well, she understands "NO" quite well. Not that she listens all the time...
  20. 3boyzmom

    3boyzmom New Member

    You bet! I will take all the hugs and handholding I can get!