Convictions of a Juvie (by Shane)
Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs financed by burglaries. For stealing a few hundred dollars worth of goods, he was sentenced by Judge Ron Reinstein to eleven years. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.
“This is your bunk,” the balding middle-aged man told me, his crooked finger pointing at an empty lower bunk.
As my tired eyes scanned the small bedroom containing four bunk beds, the smell of sweat assaulted my olfactories. “Can I get something to eat?” I asked, still unsure of whether the group-home parent was anybody to worry about.
His inebriated response told me how it was going to be with him. “No. Breakfast is a privilege here. You ain’t with your mommy and daddy anymore.”
As soon as John the house parent left the room, a toe-headed youngster sat up in the bed across from mine. “It’s OK, he’s an asshole to us all. I’ll get you something to eat.” He climbed out of the bed, and tiptoed to the door. He looked to be about ten-years old, which wasn’t a surprise to me. In my thirteen years, I’d learned that the world had unwanted kids of all ages.
Sneaking out of the room, he left the door slightly ajar. Minutes later he returned with a girl of around fifteen years with black hair.
“Jimmy says, you’re new here and hungry. My name’s Alexis. I live down the hall. Here’s a muffin. This should get you until breakfast.” She told me with a coquettish smile.
Accepting the muffin, I thanked her. The three of us sat around for a few minutes in whispered conversation before she snuck back to her room and we all went to sleep. Exhausted, I fell asleep fairly quickly.
Awoken by the sound of a loud menacing voice yelling, “Who the fuck did it?” I jumped up and quickly ran out of the door towards the racket. As I stood in the doorway of Alexis’ room, I saw four girls in their underclothes standing in a row with John before them, clearly in a rage. He had startled them awake and lined them up still half asleep. Scared, they hadn’t even noticed their near nakedness.
“Who ate my fucking food?” John yelled again, still unaware I was there.
I could see the fear in Alexis’ pretty hazel eyes as John approached her face to face. Looking at her up and down in a lecherous manner, John asked, “You ate my muffin?”
On the verge of tears, and now painfully aware of her near nakedness, Alexis looked ready to break.
Before I could even think it over, I blurted out, “I ate your stupid muffin!”
Surprised, John turned on me, dumbfounded. His look of astonishment quickly turned to fury. He took a step toward me, so I quickly turned and dashed down the hall, finding myself in a dining room. The house was foreign to me, making me that much more panicked.
When John quickly entered the dining room, my mind was already in flight mode. As he came around the table, I picked a candle holder off a table and flung it at him.
Ducking, it narrowly missed his head. Now even more enraged, he ran around the table, but I’d already shot out an open door into the kitchen.
Grabbing a small plastic jug sitting on the counter top next to the refrigerator, I threw it at the open door. Just as I’d hoped, the jug and its contents hit John in the chest as he entered.
“Get the hell away from me!” I yelled, watching the water soak his shirt. Spying a door that locked outside, I shot towards it. Please be open, I thought as I reached for the doorknob. Moving too frantically, I fell out the door as it opened, sending me stumbling into some bushes in the backyard.
Fighting back the tears from fear and the pain from the scrapes and scratches, I got to my feet and was gone. Hitting the back fence, I was up and over in seconds, sprinting down the alleyway.
Days later, I’d be arrested for being out past curfew. To my disbelief, I learned that John had filed a police report saying I’d stolen $20 from his wallet and assaulted him when he confronted me.
I was charged with petty theft, adjudicated guilty and sent to Juvenile Detention for this “crime.” I’ve committed my share of crimes over the years. I deserved punishment, but who doles out the punishment for those working the system for their benefit?
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Shaun P. Attwood