Teens in "the system"....not mine but a stranger..

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DDD, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    A retired school teacher grandmother wrote a "guest editorial" this week about her grandson. It is worth sharing although it is
    very sad. This is the way "the system" often works.

    At the age of 16 a mostly easy child teen boy had his grandfather die, a
    grandmother on the other side die and his Mom nearly die from injuries sustained in a car wreck. He turned to drugs to cope &
    in a 4 month period he was charged with 3 crimes (robbing neighbors homes with a friend who carried a bat). There were no
    injuries and the boy was sent to a juvie program and put on seven
    years probation including curfews. For 2.5 years he had no issues, completed his community service hours, got his GED and
    took a college course.

    One evening he rode to the convenience store with his girlfriend
    to get a pack of cigarettes. His PO came by that evening and he
    was charged with violation of probation. He was offered eight
    years by the S.A. office and since he had 2 character witnesses who knew him from his rehabilitation within the system
    that volunteered to come to court on his behalf, his family encouraged him to wait "and let the Judge decide what was fair".

    What did the Judge do?? He sentenced the 19 year old to 19 to
    40 years!! He stated that if he had not had the witnesses there
    "he would have sentenced him to a longer term".

    SO...the moral of the story...is that our tax dollars will pay about $50,000 a year to support a kid for 20 years because he
    made a stupid choice. When he gets out the chances are slim he
    will have a future.

    This other Grandmother hopes their story will result in the uniting of advocates for teenagers so they won't be treated as
    rapists, murderers etc. are suppose to be treated. I can't publicly support her because my easy child/difficult child is also a convicted felon
    who knows the Judge would like to send him away too. DDD
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    What a shame. While I do believe generallt that difficult children need to face the consequences of their actions, this sentence appears to be way over the top.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I'm confused, what did he do to violate parole? Buy cigarettes, drive a car?

    In either event, it seems like the sentence was more than just a little excessive! I hope he can appeal that sentence.
  4. Loris

    Loris New Member

    That is insane. It does seem way over the top. To buy a pack of cigarettes and violated is one thing, to get 40 years for it....That is beyond comprehension! I feel for that family.
  5. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    geesh - here we are PLEADING with the judges that if someone breaks community control, they need to do at least a little time or drug rehab or something, and not just get MORE community control. It's falling mostly on deaf ears, however.

    Seems like there's no sensible middle ground.......
  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am with JoG, I am not sure what the sentence was for? - what was the crime? It says he did juvie, it said for 2.5 years he had no troubles.....he was 16 when it began, 2.5 years later seems he would be 18 and old enough to purchase cigs? SO, does not sound like the cigs were the issue?
    You say he was a easy child, not a difficult child. (I still have difficulties wondering exactly who is a difficult child and who is a easy child, anyway, is it diagnosis? actions? behaviors? whether behaviors are within control of child or not that labels them difficult child or easy child? I get SO confused)

    Well, anyway that sentence sounds insanely long for anything short of murder kidnap or rape. (in my opinion) Aw heck, murderers here do not even serve 7 years..............<sigh>
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    DDD, at the prison where I work, we've had many inmates who were convicted of murder or rape who did LESS time than this! Waaaaay less! Even parole violators who commit new violent crimes only finish their original sentence!


    Most correctional systems are now looking at ALTERNATIVES to incarceration where ever possible because of the high cost of maintaining someone in prison. What a shame, and what a waste! And I don't mean the $$$!
  8. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I am thinking his parole violation was for breaking curfew? Never the less it does seem very excessive for a first time parole violation. -RM
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    A sex offender with a mile long rap sheet gets less than this! I will never understand our judicial system. It is so wacked.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The boy probably had close to six months or more before appearing
    before the Judge for adjudication. I can only imagine how awful
    his family feels for encouraging him to let the Judge decide what
    was fair.......when the prosecution thought he should do 8 years!

    Yes, he probably was in a "program" for a year or 18 months and
    then was put on probation with a curfew (usually 10 PM). He broke curfew by riding to the store for cigarettes. That, as well as a bunch of other small acts, are violations. So 2.5 yrs
    on probation with no problems and making progress with work and
    education went down the drain for a trip to the store. Yuk! DDD
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Donna, I have been watching on CourtTV the trail of the man who
    kidnapped, raped, and buried Jessica alive. Jessica's Dad and a
    few other parents of children who have been victims are uniting
    to force the Federal government to provide funding for keeping
    track of child predators, etc. "The system" says there just are
    not enough dollars available to do the job right.

    Now that my family has been in the system (plus two children are
    in law enforcement & corrections) it is very apparent WHY there is not enough money to protect the children. "The system" is
    allocating extreme amounts of time and money on non-violent, non-threatening people...particularly young people. In Florida for
    example IF you have been charged with a felony of any type and
    you violate in any way, you can not bond out or get a hearing
    any sooner than six weeks...even if the charges that got you there are dropped. That's alot of money that doesn't need to
    be spent. House arrest costs nothing. Community service hours
    are a pain in the fanny and are punitive.

    Local PO's in the juvie and adult system are quitting their
    jobs with the State as they are overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of probationers they are required to see at least monthly
    and visit at home at least quarterly. The paperwork and useless
    time spent prevents meaningful interventions.

    I tend to think it is a bit like the old game "hot potato". The
    young people are arrested quickly because they are not hardened
    criminals or sophisticated. They are tossed to the jail where
    they wait to be tossed to the States Attorneys office who then
    tosses them to Judges who are eager to toss them to the State
    facilities. Then...the tossing stops!

    It is so sad and senseless. Meanwhile truly evil men and women
    play the system. DDD
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I really don't understand some of this. A person who violates their parole or probation on a "technicality" like missing curfew or not checking in is called a "technical violator". In truth, most systems don't seem too awfully concerned about this! Most of them get away with it and the probation officers sometimes tend to look the other way as long as no harm was done. In the systems I have heard of, including ours, the "technical violators" that are caught may be rearrested and may (but not always) be required to do the rest of the time remaining on their original sentence. But they are not given any additional time - they just do the rest of whatever time they originally had. It's a little different if the violation involves "hanging with the wrong crowd" or getting caught with weapons. And it's a very different thing if they commit another crime while on parole or probation. In that case, they would be returned to prison to finish their original sentence PLUS whatever time they receive on their new charges.

    What they are doing here seems to be very counterproductive and goes against all the modern trends in Corrections, which is to look to alternatives to incarceration whenever possible.
  13. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    and a major drain on taxes....for what?
  14. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am so serious. My uncle shot and killed my aunt and did 7 years. A boy I knew (who is now a man) back in the 70s had s-e-x with a girl, he was 17, she was 16, her parents pressed charges, he got time, he served 5 years. These days I sit in the courthouse way too many days a month, sometimes as a vicitim of vandalism, sometimes with my difficult child who was a defendant, sometimes becuz difficult child was a wtiness.....sometimes for my easy child who was a victim. I watch case after case after case go before the judge. (sadly all our cases stretch out here for 2-3 years before they come to trial- with monthly court dates for "status")
    I read in my local paper about more about some of the cases I see go thru our court system.
    It is incredibly RARE for anyone here to get sent to jail or prison. I have seen men with mutiple previous convictions for ....pedophilia issues- who do NOT get jail or prison time. I see people with numerous drug charges time and time again, repeatedly found guilty with little more than a slap on the writs. The fines seldom even go over $500.

    This makes me wonder if the grandmother who wrote this maybe left or or did not know certain critical details?
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In thinking about your questions, I "think" I figured out how
    the Judge was able to do it...legally. I "think" that probably
    on the last charge they withheld adjudication and imposed the seven year probation. Then...when he violated...the original
    last charge allowed sentencing of multiple years in prison. That
    is what makes sense to me. I don't know the people but I assume
    that the Grandma is educated and caring based on the way the guest editorial was written.

    That scenario is how easy child/difficult child ended up being a convicted felon for
    have an Rx bottle in the backseat of his unoccupied car. His
    adjudication was withheld with the warning not to misstep for
    five years. He was arrested for pot possession but there was no
    pot. (2 weeks later the charges were dropped BUT he had to stay
    in jail for 3+ weeks for a VOP hearing which was also dropped).
    He was arrested for being in a car with someone with pot...long
    story...and violated although the charges were dropped. So he is
    now a convicted felon, can not vote, can't get a job without identifying himself as such AND having his probation officer come
    to the job site to check on him.

    As an experienced child advocate I think that Grandma is right.
    Non-violent offenders, people with one joint in their possession
    and in particular youthful offenders should not be eating up the
    system dollars and serving sentences that exceed "real" criminals
    who endanger or influence others.

    Anyway.......time to get back to work and off my soap box! LOL