Just got off the phone.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child got 15-21 mos with earliest possible release at 11 mos from court date if he has exceptional behavior, putting that at mid Feb next year. He will get a therapist for individual therapy and a psychiatrist. The therapist will determine if he needs family therapy. She said if I show that I want to get involved and push for family therapy, the therapist should approve it. They assigned him to the anger management rehab program- that was a no-brainer. They told me where he's going- he'll have to stay there for a few mos, then it will depend on behavior. If he doesn't do well, he'll get transferred to a less desirable place. She said he's still doing real well there but he might be honey-mooning. I told her I thought he really was trying hard but I don't know if he can maintain it or not.

    I got a 3 page letter from him today- the longest he's ever written in his life. LOL! He says he might not be able to avoid joining a gang. I wrote him a letter about what the parole officer suggested and told him that he can discuss sttrategies with him to stay out of a gang. He'll regret it if he gets involved in one.
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, at least you have some answers now, that is something. The gang thing is scary ... sigh.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He still have choices. He can choose NOT to join a gang. It is almost like he is warning you that it is coming next.


  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...this sounds fairly much like what you had been predicting. Is he going to my old neighborhood? Hopefully he can stay out of the gangs. They really arent cool.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    klmno -

    I guess the answers give you a time to plan/prepare/detach/etc.

    It was nice that he thought of you to write the longest letter of his life. I think that's where I received the first "long" heartfelt/thinking letter from Dude....while he was in Department of Juvenile Justice.

    I know that every facility is different - but I do know there were gangs in Department of Juvenile Justice. Dude said a lot of kids are not strong enough to resist or stay out. It made me ill to think that he would come out with what I would consider worse problems than he went in with. I do know that in adult prison most long timers would tell you either join or be alone without protection.

    I don't know that this is a reality in Department of Juvenile Justice or if he's telling you this for shock value - still trying to make YOU feel a little guilty - like - Look what happened - thanks to YOU Mom and now I have to join a gang or else....so I'd be very careful about what you write back regarding gangs.

    Also know that EVERY letter you send - will be read by anyone that wants to. Dude said he had NO privacy - and while he appreciated the letters - I knew to tone down my worry/love/Mom business - for fear of bullying from other inmates.

    Do you get to visit him at all? How is that going?

    I would also bring the gang thing up with the woman you seem to have a decent rapport with on the phone - ask what would be best to write back to him on that cause. OR find a local chapter of Gang Out....and ask them to make a visit.

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, all! Star, he brought up gangs in his last letter- saying that there were a LOT of members in there and he was trying hard to not "become affiliated". (I loved that verbage given that he can barely spell and is incarcerated.) Anyway, I spoke with his parole officer about this yesterday and he said difficult child probably was telling the truth because it was a big problem in state Department of Juvenile Justice. He said difficult child might need to actually hit someone to get them to see that he isn't going to be a doormat. But he said difficult child should first try just letting them know that he wasn't interested in joining a gang, but he was "cool" with whatever others choose for themselves. It sounded kind of like the pressure when he first started middle school. The parole officer said he'll be going to meet with difficult child within a couple of weeks. I wrote difficult child about all this- his letter today said that sometimes a bigger gang member "assigns" a kid to a particular gang whether or not that kid wanted to join one. I'm going to write him again about this and tell him that they can't do that- it's an intimidation thing and not to fall for it. (Does anyone know about gangs enough to know if that's true?) I hope that won't be setting him up for more violence.

    As far as visiting, he wasn't allowed any for the first month and given the day he was transferred and visitiation scheduling, it will be 5 weeks without seeing him but I'll see him this weekend. He has earned a phone call each Sat so we have spoken- but he only got 5 mins calls. And we write. After this weekend he'll be on the next higher level and call almost whenever he wants. I have to set up a payment plan for that. I'm not sure if the facility he's going to has an initial wait period for visiting or calls but I know he carries this next level of progress with him.

    He's done extremely well in there so far. He always has when he's in a highly structured group with other boys. Now, whether or not he'll endd up exploding or if it's just that this is what it takes for him to thrive, we don't know yet.
  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I just wanted to send hugs and peace your way. I am not up to date with all that is going on - but it sounds like you are handling it really well. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I know gangs are a prevalent form of survival in almost all incarcerated settings. There are very few inmates that do not affiliate themselves with some sort of association, even when they 50+ years old. It is like the judicial system reduces people down to their ancient, tribunal selves. They have to join to stay alive. None the less, joining these gangs is not like the gangs that we think of on the streets. Once out of the judicial system, these prison gangs are no longer existent. I believe if your difficult child decides to do this - he will only be trying to survive in his environment, and you should dismiss it as much as you can. Once he is back in the real world, he will not continue to be part of that.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What a relief! I'm happy that you didn't have to wait any longer to hear the plan. Not knowing the system where you live I am guessing that perhaps his first location is the best they have available with the most therapeutic assistance. That's what I surmised by your description anyway, that he starts there and if he messes up he loses the chance?
    If so there would probably be fewer reasons to worry about gangs or gang action. Meeting with Tdocs and psychiatrists etc. would keep the kids busy and prevent the isolation of teens that lends itself to gang membership. Don't you think? It isn't often that I say something positive about where we live, lol, but gangs are not common in Department of Juvenile Justice here. DDD
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you Steely and DDD! This place is all they have available for him right now- after a few months he'll get moved unless he has behaved well. This place has some benies and the others are worse (violence, sex, etc) so I really hope he stays at this one. I'm going to communicate more with him about the gang situation- I'm also going to try to get some info from more experienced parents at visitation. The parole officer said difficult child might have to fight once or twice and that difficult child was wrong for thinking he'd get time added onto his sentence if he did this out of defense. The cm at Department of Juvenile Justice said difficult child would get time added on if he got into any fight, no matter what. I hope the parole officer isn't that disconnected from what things are really like in there- but I wouldn't be shocked. After all, he doesn't really work in that environment, he only visits occassionally. It's touchy- I don't want difficult child getting into more trouble. on the other hand, if someone is trying to walk all over him repetitively or trying to do something sexual- I hope he slams them.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's 3 AM and I am sick...so my thinking may be messed up, lol. :redface:

    Does it make sense to assume that the gangs, gang members and gang leaders where he now at the intake facility will not likely be at the new placement? If so, perhaps in your letter you can say "difficult child I'm proud that you making good decisions about many things, including gangs. Do remember that you are going to move to XYZ in a few weeks ? and in that new therapeutic environment we can hope there will be no gang issues so you can focus on your personal issues." Something like that could give him confidence to keep away from the trouble makers since it is just a short while.

    I know next to nothing about gangs but even in our community there is one
    affiliation that outnumbers the others. It is a nationwide gang name and I gather they rule...in that realm. The thing is that if you joined that one here and then moved to another community...you might not have any friends at all since it is so regional. Perhaps that's true in Department of Juvenile Justice. The "best" gang where he is now may be pond scum at the next locale. That idea would keep me from joining, lol.

    by the way, I would vote that the lady knows the consequences best. Where we live...in the school world and in the incarceration world you throw a punch you are responsible. Time in lockdown is given in Department of Juvenile Justice and in the local jail.
    Suspension in school. Even if it is self defense. I assume it is because it is a "he said, they said" situation so a blanket rule is easiest. DDD
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good point about the gangs and which one "rules" at which place. He has 5-12 days left at this place so I'm just trying to get him to hang on as is until he gets to the next place, as you are suggesting too. If he can get thru the first couple of mos there without joining one, I think he should make it. Hopefully, it will help to be able to discuss some of this in person theis weekend. He's so vunerable in some ways and is very sensitive when it comes to peers and peer pressure it scares me. He'll take part in a little graduation ceeremony that I'll see this weekend, too, so maybe that will be something I can use with "wow- you did great keeping yourself out of trouble- now you are on the next level and get more priviledges, etc."

    As far as the punishment for fighting- I agree about the lady knowing it more than the parole officer. He ended up in a couple of fights in middle school- one where it clearly was self-defense even by the principal's explanation of difficult child getting slammed up into lockers and held there with a hand on his throat by a boy much bigger. Still, difficult child got into trouble, too. Of course, there is a line though where if the kid doesn't do something, the harassment and abuse gets worse. I think the parole officer is correct in that. He said there are many cameras in all these places and some can't be seen by the boys. He also ssaid that other boys snitch about about anything they see so if difficult child needed to defend himself, chances are that the staff would be able to determine if difficult child hit someone in defense only.

    Oh- difficult child also said in his letter that he played "bloody knuckles" with other kids to prove he was strong so some would leave him alone. Does anyone know what that is?

    Well, I need to figure out how to tell my mother that difficult child is incarcerated. I swear I don't think I can bring myself to tell her why and I don't know how to tell her without her getting others in the family all stirred up. Maybe I'll put it across in the terms of "difficult child did something else he shouldn't so since he had the suspended sentence, he is going to be locked up for about a year". It is true that he was committed on 5 charges (4 from before) instead of just this last one.

    He got 15-21 mos instead of 12-18 mos because they look at charges he's had in the past that he wasn't even committed for and add time on for those, too. Isn't that double jeapordy? I read online that they changes their LOS determination process last year because some kids were ending up with more time in Department of Juvenile Justice than adults who are sent to prison for the same crime. Also, I read that some mentally ill juvies were "being housed in state Department of Juvenile Justice due to not having mental health facilities to house them in in our state". This was on Department of Juvenile Justice's own website!
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If it is anything like NC, kids rack up points with their juvy charges. So many points and then you go to juvy. Those points basically give you a length of stay. So even if a kid had been charged with something and the matter adjudicated on his record...it gave him so many points. Then something else happens...more points. Something else happens...more points. When the final thing happens that gets him to the Juvy limit....he gets sent off not for just that one offense but for all those points. So they have a starting point of X but it could be much longer if that final offense is really big. Say all the little starting offenses are shoplifting and truancy and such. Then the final offense is smoking pot. All minor things. Kid would get small amount of time. But if kid had minor offenses then stole a car, had a pound of crack, stolen gun in the car, and ran from the law shooting out the window and killed a little old lady? BIG TIME OFFENSES.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It's a little like that here but a little different. Points like that are used for determining whether or not a kid is held in detention (being the local Department of Juvenile Justice system) until a trial. With our state system, even though difficult child did his time/punishment for crimes he committed 3 years ago and he was not committed to the state for these when he went to court in March, they use a system where they determine the LOS for the committing offenses, then add more time on because he had those misdemeanors 3 years ago. I guess it's simialr to a judge saying "well, you didn't learn your lesson the fuirst time, so I'll give you the max time instead of the shortest this time".

    See, difficult child had 3 offenses from 2006 that he'd already paid the price for locally, he had 3 offenses from 2007 and 1 from 2008 that he had a suspended sentence for and 1 from this year. He was committed for the ones from 2007, 2008, and this year's and that would give him 12-18 mos. Then, they added 3 mos on because he had the 3 from 2006. (Believe it or not, he actually had about 3 others in there that the judge completly swept under the rug- not dismissed but they never got addressed or logged in as guilty offenses. That's ok- they were part of his crime spree where he ended up being charged on 7 counts for 1 incident.)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009