Right now, I wanna talk about my guy, Turtle, who has cancer & has been fighting for his life. He has lung cancer and I’m not sure how long he’s had it, but recently, I got a note from him telling me that he isn’t going out for his treatment because the doctors don’t think it’s necessary anymore, or because he’s just tired of going through it.
I was really comfortable in the juvenile, at first. I didn’t speak much to anybody because I just wanted to be alone. But the staff there did everything they could to help me in any way I needed. If it weren’t for them, I would have had a real hard time dealing with everything while I was preparing for trial. They were always there for me, but it wasn’t always as easy for me.
I want to write about my experience as a 15 year old being put on trial as an adult & facing life in prison. I want to share my experience, not for sympathy – but just to share my experience and how it affected me, and to show how the process goes and what juveniles have to go through when they’re tried as an adult instead of being processed through the juvenile system. To kind of show what the difference is between the two. Although, I can’t speak for every juvenile charged & tried as an adult because everyone’s experience is different.
I want to write about my everyday life and what my life is like while living in a maximum security prison. For the people who support me to see what I do on a daily basis & to see that I’m actually doing pretty good, considering my circumstances. I also want for the people that I knew prior to getting locked up to have some kind of connection to me and not always wonder what I’m doing or how I’m doing.
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The 'automatic transfer,' laws indicate that children of a certain age (13 and up, depending on the state) must be automatically transferred to adult court, without a hearing in juvenile court, if they are charged with certain crimes. Variations in these laws exist from state to state though, more commonly, the crimes that fall under this law are violent crimes, such as murder.
It is estimated that, in the United States, almost 7000 individuals have been given life sentences for crimes they committed while they were under the age of 18 years. Of these individuals, roughly 2500 have been given sentences of life without the possibility of parole. If that isn’t enough to blow your mind, and you need more information to put that number in perspective… The second and third countries to follow the U.S. in sentencing juveniles to life without parole (JLWOP) are Israel and South Africa, both with under 10 individuals each.
A simple idea... giving a voice to the youth who have been neglected, abused, and more or less, forgotten by the larger society. Through the power of writing, empathy, and listening, I believed I could begin to heal individuals while facilitating a connection with others. Further, through recognizing the unique individual and respecting their innate value and worth as a human being, I believed I could empower individuals to re-develop their identities without reducing them to a statistic or defining them by their choices. This simple idea developed out of everything I know about trauma and believe about the power of human connection.