It’s a sad world we live in, where being a teenage prisoner means you got lucky. It means the arresting officer didn’t murder you. It means you can go on to become more than a two minute news segment and a hashtag. It’s a confused world we live in, where being a teenage prisoner is the bright side. People will say that he can now “get his life together,” and he can finally “get his high school diploma,” and he’ll “be able to get a trade,” ignoring the fact that he should’ve been directed to do these things long before he landed in prison.

I’m sorry you’re going through this, that the world doesn’t see your worth. But, know this, you’re not an animal, though they call you one, in segregated conversation and whispers. What you are is a child in prison. And eventually, you’ll realize that the system wasn’t designed in your favor. It was designed for you to lose, and justice is a commodity purchased by those who can afford it. In our world, justice has nothing to do with right and wrong. I know, it’s a jarring revelation, but one that’ll help you make sense of it all.

So, when you get out and you’re walking down the street at night, and she clutches her purse with that fearful look in her eyes, or he changes his path a bit and regards you suspiciously, it isn’t because they worry about what you might do to them, it’s because they are fully aware of what they have done to you. They’re scared of the revenge that they believe is in your heart. They’re scared of having to pay for the sins of their fathers. They’re scared of karma. They don’t know that Jesus visited you in prison. They don’t know that you’re saved. They don’t know salvation.

12 thoughts on “Dear Teenage Prisoner,

  1. Oh gawd … that was precise and completely on point!!! Thankyou for sharing!

    I used to work in a ‘youth residential centre’ as ‘they’ liked to call it; I called it a kiddy prison. 4 years I lasted but that place was the straw that broke this camels back. Our system is crap and does absolutely nothing for our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The juxtaposition of Thoreau’s simple, solitary haven at Walden Pond in your main image with the realities you describe in your post sets my teeth on edge.

    Still, I’m grateful that you share. As a mother (and a human being), I can only work in my own small way toward creating a world where every child has a fair chance to grow up safely, flourish, and take his or her rightful place in adult society.

    Have you read Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society”? It is all about the failure of education by institution, and makes some comparisons to prison. It was written in 1971, but he envisioned a future with a “learning web” in which students and teachers could freely seek each other out for peer-to-peer education. I borrowed it from my library last month; I think you might find it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, you recognized the pictures in the main images. I was so excited when I finally got to visit Walden pond and step into that replica cabin. Walden has been one of my favorite books of all time. The emptiness of the cabin (in the photo), to me, in a way, can help visitors (of my blog) understand and have an image of the emptiness and solitude I was forced to get acquainted with while incarcerated. Also, I believe my being in prison was the birth of my introversion and Thoreau’s cabin in the woods helps me to understand that an introvert’s paradise isn’t just a dream, but is within the realm of attainability.
      I have not read Ivan Illich’s book “Deschooling Society,” but it sounds fascinating. I will look into it.
      Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and commenting.
      God bless.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow! Your reply is very insightful. It provokes me to reflect on my “emptiness and solitude I was forced to get acquainted with” after my salvation.
        Christ has a way of slowing of us down to get our absolute attention and focus. It heightens our senses of everything.
        I felt confined in my own home after years of climbing corporate ladders. One thing that doesn’t stop – it’s LEARNING!

        The piece you wrote… parenting is fleeting, truth is beautifully painful, and the last sentence?

        “They” are a whole lot of people.
        God’s Word clearly says it.

        Your writing has and is a blessing for me!
        Thank you John. I love reading everything you write.
        May God bless you mightily,
        Kat

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Kat for your continued support and encouragement. If you get anything out of my writing then, I can assure you, I benefit just as much from our communication.
        And, yes, the “they” I was referring to in this post is a “whole lot of people,” You’re right. God’s word says “the world has been deceived,” not just this nationality or that race but “the world.”
        Thanks again Kat. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading and reaching out. 🙂
        God bless you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re welcome. I got no notification you responded. That’s weird, because it’s set.

    God has used you (Lord willing will continue) as a tremendous and necessary inspiration for me. It’s amazing to know, that He planned it all from the foundation of the world. He loved us that much – each one of us – a vapor and a mist.

    I couldn’t resist!
    (I spell check after I hit send… argh.)
    Kat

    Liked by 1 person

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