How do you feel about this?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Do you think 10 years as a 13 year old child was/is long enough for stabbing your step-brother? Or do you think he got what he deserved as a life without parole sentence?

    One thing in particular stood out - as I'm a teen from the 70's-80's - in that in the 70's - 80's it states that punishments for minors were not so severe. I wonder if it had anything to do with our parents being teens in the 50's-60's and the need for less strict environment than they were raised in.

    I don't think this is a decision that can be made overnight or without structured supports (to let this man out on parole) but - I think it's interesting to see that there actually is a group working for the freedom of childhood killers. Was life for a life too strict?
  2. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Star,
    I'm one of those out here that does believe that children who have killed can be rehabilitated. Unfortunately for our youth our society I think became overly reactive towards youth when Columbine happend.

    I won't say that every case can be rehabilitated but I think in too many of these instances the children were themselves abused, mistreated, neglected...hurt little souls who probibly did not even understand why they themselves did what they did.

    I may be in the minority here but I don't think children are really fully grown until their brains stop developing at our age 24/ that point their probibly a done deal.

    It saddens me how many of these kids will just remain locked up for life.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    These kinds of questions really make me squirm because I really think each case has its own individual circumstances that could sway a court one way or another. I don't know if this Lott kid should spend the rest of his life in jail - to me, it does seem like a waste of public resources and his life. At his age, and taking into consideration the history of his relationship with his brother, it would seem that there is a glimmer of hope that he could be habilitated to a point where he could live outside of prison with some minor restrictions, so he could work and thrive as an individual. Some provisions for his release could be made, such as working with violent youths, being involved in a drug and alcohol restrictive program, having a parole officer/counselor that he needs to check in with bo-weekly and needing permission to move from area to area. I don't know if that's enough. I don't think it's fair for him to go free after taking a life, his stepbrother or a stranger's, but I think that being sent to prison for life at 14 years old is a crime in and of itself. And then there is the history that his mother provided - he didn't have a very stable upbringing from the sounds of it, so how much will his upbringing, this incident and years of time in prison effect who he is upon his release?

    And then there are 14 year olds with a history of violence from striking family and friends to killing the cat and torturing the family dog - what about those kids? To me, that's a sick mind and I worry that a person with a strong history of violence should NOT be released.

    So, like I said, I feel it really depends on each individual case and circumstances. But I don't have any first hand experience with this type of situation, so this could just be my bleeding heart talking.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hope that as time goes on, and we gain more knowledge, that each case will be judged on it's own merits at parole hearings. I hate to think that we can't rehabilitate a child, but the plain and simple fact is that society walks away from wounded and abused children every day and there are going to be dire consequences for children when that happens. Just as sometimes a magic elixir turns a somewhat bright child into a hero or a shaper of mankind, sometimes an equally but dark magic elixir sometimes turns a somewhat dull young child into a person who may never recover.

    In 1996 an 11 year old boy, Ray, set a fire, killing three adults and eight children. Ray had the mental abilities of a 6 year old. His father bashed his head in when he was 2. Dad had been in and out of prison and lived on returned bottles and welfare, often got his friends to give him drugs by playing "shooting gallery" with Ray. Dad and his friends would smoke dope on the sofa, and Ray would run back and forth across the room in front of them and they would take shots at him with a BB gun. They laughed and thought it was like a Daffy Duck cartoon. This went on from the time Ray was 6. They lived in a largely Hispanic community, and Dad was a bigot who railed against the Hispanics. Ray had been caught setting fires on a number of occasions, missed school often, and carried a knife which he was known to use on other children. He had also physically assaulted other children, which his parents found amusing. It wasn't a surprise when in the middle of the night Ray lit a fire at the bottom of a stairwell blocking the exit to four of those families. Parents threw children out of windows. There were no working smoke detectors. It was horrific.

    Initially, he was convicted as an adult of felony murder. That conviction was overturned in 2001, leaving 8 convictions of negligent homicide. "During his incarceration in the XXX Youth Corrections Facility, Ray has shown progress, not caused trouble, and is well liked." He is beginning to transition back into society. He will probably be released when he turns 25 years old - next year.

    I think it is right that Ray gets out of detention. I think he is as much a victim of that fire as anyone else who was there. I hope that he has had the opportunity to learn more about being a compassionate person. What an awful thing for that it wasn't until he had done such a terrible thing that he got some help.

    All that being said? I don't think anyone will want him living near their home. It's just a sad situation all the way around, and it goes to show (in my humble opinion) that we need to take care of at risk children long before they become so damaged by their surroundings. We can't keep walking away from troubled families and saying "it's none of our business."

    by the way, despite all of the troubles that Ray was having at home and in his community prior to the fire, no one had seemed to notice that his dad was an escaped felon. He was returned to an out of state prison after everyone started looking into the situation.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think it would depend on the circumstances of the case.

    I watched a very interesting documentary on this very thing not long ago. While I had no trouble spotting a few of the boys shone should never have received such stiff sentences.......there were a few more I wasn't so certain about.

    But I'm biased. As a teen a very good friend, kind elderly neighbor was murdered by a 10 yr old because the boy was asked to stop stomping his flowerbeds. The boy brutally stabbed the elderly man repeatedly in a premeditated planned out attack. His parents asked for the stiffest punishment possible......and the boy got it. Eight years in the juvenille prison plus life in adult prison upon his 18th birthday.

    I knew both the child and the victim well. The boy used to "play" with my stepbrothers. Do I think he deserved such a stiff sentence? Knowing the facts of the case as well as I do........... Yes, he most certainly did. Some 30 yrs later, I still feel the same way. There is evil in this world......and that child (as sad as it is to say it) was as close as you can get.

    Once he was in jail, he confessed to pouring bleach down his 2 yr old sister's throat because he wanted her to die. Parents had believed up until that point it had been a freak accident, although they'd never figured out how the sister had gotten the bleach to begin with. Sister didn't die, but lost her windpipe, esophogus, stomach......And wasn't expected to live past the age of 5.

    I think we need to be extremely careful about this sort of thing. Kids are not the kids we were at the same ages, and most especially not the kids our parents were at the same ages. Kids today as a whole are far more worldly and experienced than the generations before them....and far more violent.

    And let's face it, it's easy to say "well I didn't know what I was doing /didn't mean to do it".....ten years down the road
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I haven't been able to read through all the replies, but each case must be taken on its own merit ... although on a murder charge, dead is dead, no matter how they got that way or how old the person was who did it.

    In the correctional facility where I work, we've seen some do ten years or even less, while others end up doing life for the same thing. And I've seen lots of these middle-aged 'lifers' who are here because they did something very, very stupid when they were very, very young, sometimes with a drug or alcohol problem at the time. And years later, many of them aren't even the same person as they were when they committed the crime - they've matured and grown, settled down, got an education while in prison. There's no reason they couldn't become a responsible, law abiding member of society ... but it's never gonna happen! We have a few that I wouldn't mind if they moved in next door to me!
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Donna, I'm sure that there are some juvenile offenders that I would be fine with moving next to me, as well. Each case needs to be judged on it's own merits. I hope that one day we will begin to intervene and help these children before such awful things happen. It's just a shame.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'll use "post quick reply" to keep from going on and on and on. LOL!

    Lisa Bloom (Court TV) has stipulated many times that the USA is one of only three
    (I think) countries in the world that punishes/sentences children the same as adults.

    Personally I find it abominable that sentences and treatments vary not only from State to State but District to District. There, in my humble opinion, should be guidelines based on
    scientific statistics and not emotional reactions. I find it all too sad. DDD
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

  10. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Depends on the kid and the circumstances. Their brains AREN'T fully developed until age 24.. difficult child 2 pushed his twin to the limit one too many times and difficult child 1, who is crazy about "the only blood I know" went after his bro with an axe. Two of their friends disarmed him. If he had hurt his twin he would not have wanted to live. This same twin slept with the love of difficult child 1's life! They both showed lack of impulse control.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am another one who thinks it all depends. There have been a few kids in the news lately in my area who are quite young. One on the news just yesterday was an eleven year old boy who shot his younger sister for a bag of chips. I am not sure what they did with him.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I was just wondering and not in the least comparing anyone to anyone else. Witz the story about Ray broke my heart. Some of the things that were done to him were done to my son (and worse) by his bio dad. Dude was rewarded by him for being mean, hitting, and had he been left to live there or in that environment? He would either be in prison or dead. I've been told that numerous times by numberous professionals.

    That's what makes me wonder about cases like this, and Ray and Christopher Pittman here in the low country. Christopher was on Zoloft, abused by his mother with a very unstable history and finally went to live with his grandparents. He shot them both dead in the middle of the night because voices said to do it, and then just went on about his routine and life. He is the first child in SC to get life in prison. He was recently denied an appeal and I don't know if his professional team is done with him or if he's just going to spend his life in prison.

    I guess what bothers me most about children like these are that Dude would /could have been just like them. Of course he's 18 and has NO clue that his life could have been like this. But we kept at it and worked with him and now I'm not afraid of him anymore. I wouldn't lock my door if he spent the night in my home. So what is it that changes? THe help, the therapy, the growing up, the constant parenting whether it be by parent, aunt or grandparent? Is it that someone steps in and says "I CARE?" and never stops caring? OR is it interfering? Or not detaching? What?

    Daisy - I've met people that were pure evil. I lived with one. My x's nephew set my sons bed on fire when he was 2 1/2.....he has never gotten help - he has an alcoholic/drug addict father and a boozer/grasshopper man to man to man Mother. At four - he was the meanest child I had ever met. He would laugh when he hurt the dogs on purpose, he would hit the other kids with toys, trucks -in the head and then if not observed - laugh. IF observed and corrected you would get a death look - from a FOUR year old!! At almost 20 - he's been in and out of trouble with the law and it's a miracle that everyone that comes in contact with him hears his sad story of childhood, feels sorry for him and then he gets out of trouble because people won't press charges either because they are afraid of retaliation or they really feel sorry. Him? I wouldn't hesitate to put in jail. I think he's more like his uncle (my X) than anyone realizes. Even as a baby - when they lived with us - I never let him play with Dude unattended. Even with me there - he would strike Dude with things. This eventually led to them being asked to move out.

    Donna - I forgot you work where you do. Just curious what would make you think that any of the guys you see daily would make good neighbors - WHAT is it that happened to them in prison that would make them productive members of society? Enough for you to think he could live next to you or anyone? I think that's fascinating.

    And D3 - you are absolutely correct - kids aren't for throw away - but there should be one law - period. Here in SC it varies from county to county.....a farming community who has a kid that runs over mail boxes is more likely to give a difficult child a stiffer penalty -than say where I live in the big city - where it would be more than likely dismissed with probation.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with you 100%. Young sexual offenders can also be rehabilitated although adults usually can not. I believe in giving kids a chance to reform.
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star, the boy I was talking about was exactly like your x's nephew. He literally slaughter our neighbor, calmly washed the butcher knife, took a shower, disposed of his clothes, and snuck back into his own home unseen by anyone. (it was the wee hours of the morning)

    He had no remorse, no regret for either the neighbor or his sister. He used to torture the neighborhood animals when he thought no one was looking, and he made my stepbrothers lives a nitemare when they tried to play with him. And his laugh would make your skin crawl and your blood run cold. Pure evil.

    This boy came from a loving home with doting parents, no abuse, no neglect......Perhaps serious mental illness.......But that serious doesn't need to be walking the streets. It's just too huge a risk.

    But I don't think that applies to all circumstances. Many kids are severely abused/neglected and are reacting to the world as they know it. It doesn't make what they did any less......Unfortunately, that severe abuse it hard to understand it's effects unless you've lived it.

    I think it shows just how broken our whole system is.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-Witz and others ... it depends upon the kid and the circumstances. Some kids are born with-screwy wiring and nothing will change them. Others can be rehabbed.
    Very scary and sad all the way around.

    I love the stories I read about boys on ranches taking care of horses, who all of a sudden realize what it means to take care of another living being. And the horses are so big you can't kick them around like a cat, so they automatically earn respect. I suspect that the counselors who work with-them occasionally spot a kid who just can't learn, and I'm curious as to what they do about it. Or perhaps the kids are screened b4 they even get to the ranch, for exactly that reason.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I pretty much agree with- what Witz says as well.
    Perhaps some have a predisposition (wiring) to faulty thing. And then if that situation is coupled with abuses in the home or within would be especially concerning!!! Personally, I think almost all of us have choices to make. Almost all of us can, put a little space between a stimulus and a response. Sometimes, we need time to figure this out. Some, need medication to make that happen. Some, find it very difficult. I do believe that there is a small percentage of the population that might find it basically impossible. I still find it perplexing. Actually, I find it disheartening. I'm still processing it. Perhaps years ago there was more hope for young people who made mistakes...especially for those who showed any glimmer of promise. They weren't thrown in jail forever with no treatment, care or hope because they made a mistake. My guess is that they were held accountable for their actions...but not discarded like trash. And today, look at the way we treat our mentally ill? We thought de-instutionalization was a good thing. Why? Perhaps because many in those institutions were being abused. Some where there when they shouldn't be there. But, what do we do with today's folks who are mentally ill? Ignore them....put them in jail...give them little or no them worsen.
    Lasted edited by : Apr 14, 2009
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oddly enough the day or so after this was posted a local middle school principal was shot on his way to school. I dont know if they have caught the shooter yet or not but the first thing that went through my head was "oh no, dont let it be a student!" Sad to say I would much rather it be an irate parent than a kid. We just dont need more kids shooting people.

    You know what is really sad? In the last couple of weeks we have heard so much on the news about spree killings...the one in Massachusetts, the one in the nursing home, the one out in CA, the one in Alabama....where probably a total of 30 to 40 people have died. But yet they announced just the other night that a suicide bomber went off in Iraq killing 5 US soldiers and it was the worst attack in a year. 5!!!! So it is safer to be in Iraq than in the USA now.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    it is safer to be in Iraq than in the USA now.

    Life is weird.

  19. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    I lived about a half mile from a therapeutic residential facility and a number of children who committed crimes were in that facility in the 70's. The person I lived with worked at the facility. A teen in my area,I believe he was 13 killed his parents bc they took his cell phone away. I think these kids should be in a secure facility with rehabilitation and revaluation every 3 years. I don't believe they should be in an adult facility.