Oct. 25, 2011

From Elementary To The Penitentiary: Part II

by Jermaine Hicks


From Elementary to the Penitentiary
By Jermaine Hicks B.K.A. One Verse

...But the gun jammed up. Did I pray to God while all this was taking place? Hell yeah I did! God was with me that night. So was he with my brother and friend? Because both of them made it through.

What was I going to do? I know that with all the chaos happening on the streets, I had to get away before I became a physical victim to it all. Leaving the state was my only chance. I thought by running away, all my problems would be over. So I went to live with my mom in Florida. Tampa Bay, FL is a good city.

Me and my brother James came to Texas in 1988. My father had gotten out of prison up in Michigan and came and got his two boys. Before my father went to prison, we were living in Avon Park, FL. After he left, the state of Florida placed all of my father's children in foster care. This was in 1984.

Life in foster home seemed that it was all about money to me. Out of the four foster homes I lived in, I can only remember being loved and cared for by one while living there. It was with a white couple who lived on a farm out in the hillside of Florida. Their names were Mary and Jack. As I remember, to my knowledge, they had kids themselves. They were so sweet to me and my brother (who loved them seriously), we actually cried when we had to leave and go to another foster home.

All the other foster homes we lived in seemed to be mean old women who only let us stay in their home because the state was paying them to do so. Our very last set of foster parents beat me and my brother James so bad, we could not sit down for anything for about two weeks without being in pain. Linda was her name. The old witch held us down while her husband beat us with sticks.

This is what made me lose respect for older people who forced me to do things. Or even try to tell me something beneficial. So later on in life, I guess the reason why I responded poorly by running away or fighting my father when he tried to discipline me was based on how I was treated in my foster homes.

Don't get me wrong. I totally believe that foster care is worth it, in terms of taking a child out of a situation or circumstance that's damaging and harmful physically and mentally to a child. I am a living example that circumstance of living determines, in most cases, the outcome of a child's future. Choices are based on options. How many options does a child have when his father is on drugs or in prison? Whose mother is basically in the same boat? When all your friends are drug dealers or gang members? When the only time you get a good meal is at school or church? When the streets feel more homely than actually being at home? Can you dig what I'm saying? I acknowledge that this is life, but is it fair?

You may say, "I come from the ghetto and I made it." But how many of your friends make it? How many times have you reached back to find them or your community? How many times have you sent books to prisoners or a letter to encourage them to do better?

It is all a part of the struggle in the web of cause and effect. Point being, when you can take a child out of this situation or state of living, it's a great thing. What makes it even greater is when you can display your love for them and be willing to be there. Teach them about life and what they face now, and in the future. The good things about foster care.

In 2008, there were a total of 2,458 youths housed in residential facilities nationwide. Out of all these juveniles, how many do you believe by being housed there, they were able to work though their problem? 60%, in my opinion, of youths never really had the opportunity to focus on their problem because of the problems they were having inside the facility with other problematic youths around them.

For example, when I was in foster homes, I was physically and mentally mistreated. That psychologically had a role in my behavior later on in my life. All the way up until I faced my fears and had the power to change my attitude that I actually became someone who's able to maintain in society—if I'm ever given the chance.

Once the youth goes to prison, 95% of them will forever be either uneducated or mistreated, and never really know what it's like to function in a normal society. Take a child like myself, who could never read nor write nor spell, until he or she went to administrative seg. 23 hour lock up for 18 months to eight years like I did in seg. And then teach his or herself how to read and write. Given a life sentence, having to spend up to 40 years flat in prison before coming up for parole. Functioning under constant threat of your life or land property, with very little help from staff. When the individual does get out, what type of life can we have?

This person has been mentally fucked up as a child into his or her adulthood. This is a reality for most youths who the justice system considers to be adults based on their violent crime. Is there anything else society can do besides be a career criminal?

My point is, many youths never really get the opportunity to work on themselves until their adulthood. In cases like mine, sometimes it's too late then. The damage is done.

I, along with my brother, ran away many times. Mostly because my father was on drugs and there was little food in the house. Most of the time, when we were not living in the projects, the lights and gas were cut off due to the bills not being paid. So we stayed in the streets...

Continued next week!


Replies (2) Replies feed

Hic85742 Posted 7 years, 3 months ago. ✓ Mailed 7 years, 3 months ago   Favorite
I read this

Jermaine Hicks Posted 7 years, 2 months ago.   Favorite
(scanned reply – view as blog post)

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