"They're all teenagers and teenagers by definition make bad decisions," Ross told Business Insider from "Sad Pictures of Kids Locked Up In America"
They stare at me across the table, room stark, no windows, no air to breath.
"Then we have no choice but to charge him with 1st degree murder."
PUNCH Right in my face!
"How can you do that? You have no evidence! You can't do that."
"We are and we will. Your son is coming with us."
PUNCH Right in my stomach!
A cry rises in my throat, stopped by unbelief, by fear as I hold my son as he cries,
"Mom, please! Whatever you have to do. Sell the house. Whatever mom!
Don't let me go down for something I didn't do!"
PUNCH! JAB! RIGHT CROSS! Right in my heart! My head!
A groan rises but is pushed down by fear.
They won't tell me where my son is. I don't know where my son is. He is lost in a system of horror, lost in bars and locks and chains and violence. I can't find my son! Finally I see him in court, shackles on his ankles, walking with chains dragging the floor, a waist guard with his hands chained to his stomach, a flack jacket on his body that causes him to look even more like a child. Guards with guns trained on my son....ON MY SON!
KIDNEY PUNCH! RIGHT CROSS! LEFT HOOK!
Screams rise in me. Anguished cries. MY SON! MY SON!
Eight by ten room, lights always on, disorienting my son, no contact, no sound, alone with his fear. Left alone to survive solitary torture. No sound but the screams from other cells, no shower, no touch. Is it day? Is it night? What day is it? Cement raised block, 2 inch foam mattress, he can't sleep....where is the world?
I see him, dark circles, hair standing up, drawn, tears, fear....so much fear.
PUNCH IN THE GUT! CAN"T BREATH! can't breath can't breath
FIGHT LIKE A GLADIATOR, PUSH THROUGH REJECTION, THROUGH HATE.
Two and a half years since I hugged my son...only a face through scratched plexi - glass. Finally a hug. Finally we touch hands as we talk about his choice. HIS CHOICE! HE QUIT! HE TOOK A PLEA! MY SON!!!
DOUBLE FISTS TO THE BACK OF MY NECK! I fall to my knees.....no, please no.
Victims cry, they hurl hate through the room, venomous hatred. They are consoled.
They cry and someone holds them.
They are in anguish....someone holds them. They suffer and their voice is heard.
MY SON! THEY TOOK MY SON! MY SON IS LOCKED IN HELL!
I CANNOT SAVE HIM! DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!
Can anyone hear me? Can anyone hear me? Would someone please hold me?
Family gone, face all over the papers, people cross to the other side of the street.
MY SON! I CAN"T PROTECT MY SON!
BOOT TO MY RIBS! I can't get up. can anyone hear me?
Razor wire, guard towers, commanding voices through speakers, guards in the tower with guns, razor wire.
Large iron gates clang open, move through, more iron gates, move through. Metal detectors, pat down.
Chains, cuffs, he is so pale, he is so thin. Life is gone from his face.
"I had no choice mom, they wouldn't fight for me. They just wanted me gone. Now I am."
My anguish has turned to mortar, my grief the stones of my life, they bind me together.
My voice is silent.
Years later....a picture, a story, a hand on my shoulder, hope of a future....
And from my belly comes a cry of anguish.....a river that overflows.
The mortar gives way.
The stones crumble.
Fall in a heap on the ground.
Mother of an Incarcerated Youth
“No one believes that locking a teenager in a closet is an effective way to improve either their behavior or their character, much less to protect them long term,” Kysel said. “Young people have rights and needs that are different from adults; jail and prison practices should reflect those differences and promote their ability to grow and change – we should invest in youth, not banish them.”