This will be my first post on this blog because this issue is something we as a society need to talk about, yet we avoid so often because it makes us uncomfortable.
At 15 I was arrested for the first time, I had gotten into a argument with my mother and we both got physical with each other. When the police arrested me I didn't understand why I was being taken to jail. All I knew was I was upset and angry. I was not the same person, in fact for part of the argument I blacked out and I don't remember it which is referred to as disassociation. Let me tell you how uncomfortable it is to be locked in a 5x5 foot cell with no windows, no human contact besides the guards, and locked into your own head.
I spent 2 weeks in Juvenile hall, 2 weeks of pure hell. I spent time with kids that were incarcerated for theft, battery, sexual assault, drug possession, etc. I suspect many of them also had mental illnesses.
We were allowed 1 hour of free time a day, we had open shower that had knobs you needed to press every few seconds to continue the water flow or it would turn off. Most of us had hair falling out due to the de-lice shampoo we were required to use. We were shackled like felons when going to court hearings and we were often treated like felons by the court.
The impact it left on my life was and still is devastating. I had flashbacks for years after and I lost a lot of trust in not only the justice system but my family. The mental devastation it left will forever haunt me.
I have done my best to push the memories aside and lock them away, however I get flashbacks frequently. Some things I saw I keep buried deep and refuse to talk about with those close to me, including the fact that I was held in the very same facility as my rapist mentioned in my other blog.
The reason I chose to write on this topic is because my children are affected by mental illness and I could very well see the same thing happen to any one of them, so I choose to bring awareness to the situation so I can help my children, other children and their families.
When parents lock their own children in windowless, empty rooms, it is considered child abuse and we surround the family with social services. Yet states routinely engage in this abusive practise, confining youth in small cells, alone, for 22 to 24 hours a day for weeks or even months at a time. Where is the outrage?