Would you get involved?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child is incarcerated due to being on a suspended sentence then pulling a knife on me. About the only "friend" he has in there is an 18yo who is in there for stabbing his grandmother to death. The other boy had no decent parents but his grandparents were great- by all accounts. He was in counseling and ALL had been warned that he was explosive. Of course the cops and courts don't do anything until after it has happened. He lost it one night when he was 14yo and stabbed his grandmother because she thought he was too young to get serious with a girl, then the girl broke up with him, He apparently blamed the grandmother. She was his biggest advocate and I have no doubt that he regrets his actions. He has done extremely well in Department of Juvenile Justice and their required JROTC. However, based on what difficult child says, it appears a little to me that the boy has suffered so much trauma- albeit much of it due to his own actions- that he doesn't express emotion or remorse in the way most people would.

    The boy has been incarcerated for 4 years so far. In that time he has graduated high school and gone as far as he can in JROTC. He is currently taking college classes. He never gets written up, according to difficult child. He never has a visitor but will be allowed contact with his father (who's a dead beat) when his father gets released from prison. (Juveniles here are not allowed contact with anyone, even a parent, if both are incarcerated). difficult child says he thinks the father only wants contact with this boy because the grandfather left some life insurance to him when he died.

    I think of this boy often. I wonder if he's helping my son or if his words/actions are doing my son more harm and leading him further astray. But I do really feel for him and can't imagine him doing so well when he's never had one single visitor or phone call and has no one left who really cares for him. He was originally sentenced to something like 50 years (I verified this by online newpaper articles) but has gotten it reduced to 25 years so far.

    I think somtimes that when difficult child is released, maybe he could write to him. Only parents and grandparents are allowed to visit, so I can't visit or anything- and no packages are allowed. But for some reason, my heart goes out to this kid.

    Would you try to do anything and get involved? Do you think it would help my son or only contribute to my son's tendency to domestic violence to try to help this other boy?

    by the way- his mother left him as a very young baby and his father has been in and out of prison all his life. His grandparents did love him, were involved in his school, had him in therapy, and were knowledgable, caring, reasonable guardians. Am I being too saympathetic? Juveniles are not allowed contact with others the way adult prisoners are so I'm not even sure if I'd have any opportunity to do anything other than write him and I have no clue what I'd write him about.

    ETA: I'm sure that most, if not all, of my attration to this boy's case is due to me thinking about the situation my son would be in if he had killed me when he pulled the knife on me. So while I do feel for this other boy and sympathize for him immaturely losing it and doing something that has life-long effects, I think more than anything I wish my son could/would look at him and think "but for the Grace of God, there go I".
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is a tough one. Maternal instincts makes you want to reach out to a child with basically no hope and offer him something to hold on to. I know cuz it yanked on mine reading your post.

    BUT while you do have the articles you don't have many of the facts. And I would hesitate to take action just on difficult child's perception of things. Not necessarily because he's a difficult child, but because he's a kid.....and somewhat naive to certain behaviors.

    That this kid does not get written up......while it's a good thing......it could also be that in 4 yrs he's learned how to work with the system, to manipulate it. His surface behavior could be a smokescreen for other behaviors that are carefully kept hidden. Not saying that is the case. Just saying it's a possiblity.

    I dunno the answer. I know that even with my strong overactive maternal instincts I'd be hesitant to get involved. Mostly because you have no idea of what you're actually getting into with this kid if you do.

    My nephew will be a lifer in prison. He's been there basically since he was 16 other than a couple of very short paroles before winding up back into prison. In prison he's a model prisoner. He got his GED. He doesn't get into trouble. But with each passing year he gets more and more dangerous. He knows how to work the system to fit his wants/needs and make it a more comfortable environment for him to live in. But under that facade he is far worse than the 16 yr old boy who entered the system. Far more volite, far more manipulative and dangerous.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you, Lisa- what you describe about your nephew is my worst fear for my son- especially when I see therapist sitting there acting like this all happened because I was too strict- and knowing that while I am not the most lenient parent, I am not any more strict than other attentive parents who have expectations of their kids and the kid is on probation.

    And you bring up good points that I have had thoughts of. Maybe I should wait and see- if difficult child gets released and there are "signs" that this boy has helped keep him in line, maybe I could let difficult child write him. I dunno know. I know it's safer and easier to let it go- but another part of me feels like an irresponsible citizen who refuses to get involved if I do that. on the other hand, my son has to remain my first priority.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You've written about this young man before, I remember.

    In your shoes I probably also would feel I would want to write. I can't tell you if it's the right thing to do or not. Why not talk to your own psychiatrist about this? I think you need to fully understand your own motives in this, because if you do this for the wrong reasons, it won't be good for you. Or for him.

    But it could be brilliant. This lad needs an anchor, he sounds like he could be a steadying influence for your son and the continuity would probably be good.

    Talk it over with someone who knows you really well and who knows how to dig and find out why this is pushing your buttons.

  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Hmmm, wow. Okay. So here's where my mind went reading this.

    We hear of so many sad lost kids doing awful things (killing a grandmother would qualify!) and then we hear their lives and their pain and our heartstrings pull. However, so many kids have pain and don't kill their loved ones!

    While I do hope this boy gets much help and support and can go on to live a life of some quality (and crime free!!!!!!!!) I think for me, I'd leave this to the professionals.

    Having a difficult child is hard enough without having them in deep with someone who at 14, killed their grandmother. If this had been a person who tormented, tortured, abused the boy? And he fought back and it ended in death? I might feel different. But from sounds of it, this grandmother was not wanting him dating at 14? And now she's dead? I don't want my kids dating at 14. And I dont' expect to be dead for it either.

    I'm glad your difficult child has a friend while he's incarcerated. At the same time, I can't imagine it being a smart move for your difficult child, on the outside and hopefully building a new solid and good futured life for himself, to have a friend who he stays involved with who has this history. What about when this child is released? And difficult child is his only friend? A place at the family dinner table? A roommate for difficult child? So many risks.

    I just can't see it being worth the risk to difficult child for this to continue. Perhaps a well written letter upon his release (no return address) thanking him for being a friend while they were locked up together. Perhaps saying he wishes this guy well and hopes that he goes on to live a good, normal, healthy and productive life. Other than that, I'd be leaving this to the professionals to help this young person find their way. This just screams BIG RISK to me, in terms of our own difficult child's.

    (I would be saying this about someone locked up with my own kid for say: burglary, assault, car theft, drugs etc. I mean, do we WANT our kids to befriend difficult child's with criminal tendencies? nope. And for me, its my mind that we concern ourselves with our difficult child's finding healthy relationships. And super risky ones, for our difficult child's, just rank up there with me as ones I would want to support.)

    At the same time, I do hope this young man gets help and can do something productive with his life.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well after sleeping on it, I woke up thinking more along the lines of what you're saying, MM. I thought "what kind of message would I be sending difficult child if I established some sort of contact with this kid"? And it's almost creepy in a way. I guess it's a situation where if we could send care packages, I'd probably send the boy one, while difficult child is in there. Then, I'll just once difficult child is released I'll put it all behind us.

    I don't know what will happen with the boy as he gets older. Most who have committed murder are in a much harsher, stricter facility but they started this boy out in that particular facility due to his age at the time and the domestic nature of the crime. Since he did well and doesn't fight or anything, they have left him there instead of transferring him like they do most- especially once they've graduated high school and turned 18yo. But, they are required to transfer him to an adult facility by the time he turns 21yo. After he's been in adult prison for years before he has any hope for release, who knows what kind of person he will be.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    K...maybe once you are in a more secure financial situation you can remember this boy when he gets into adult jail and send him money for his canteen account. That would be a nice thing. He will probably not have many people on the outside looking out for him it sounds like.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Klmno, I would ask if there is a prison charity so you could donate something anonymously.
    I would not write him directly. You've got your hands full already.

    by the way, it's easy to be a model prisoner when everything is routine and there are no surprises to set you off.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good ideas here! As I start "cleaning house", there might be some things this facility could use.

    Terry, you make a good point. My son is doing wonderful in there, too. So much so that they think I must have driven him to pull a knife on me and "I shouldn't be so strict on him". HA!

    That boy claimed "he snapped"- at least that's what the defense attny claimed but he had admitted to getting mad, getting a knife and sitting with it under the cushion a few mins, then attacking his grandmother, who he lived with. I don't know, but I don't think my son even spent that much time planning or setting up a stage to come after me, so I'm not so sure he snapped. Still, I would think he would regret it and difficult child says he can tell that he does. He had been on medications before but I'm not sure if he was on medications at the time- the other boy, not my son. My son had just started abilify, which is another story.