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Old 02-08-2018, 06:15 PM
Halo527 Halo527 is offline
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Default Heartbroken beyond belief

Today, our final hope for a reasonable sentence was shattered. My beloved 22 year old son will be sentenced to 12 years in California prison and my heart is breaking. I know this is a normal response from all the threads I've read, but it still can't stop the pain.

The worse thing now is that my son's hope is gone too. We had been holding on to the hope that he would be given a similar sentence to others who have done the same thing, (2 to 5 years), but we have an unsympathetic DA who can throw the book at him due to all of the witnesses to what he did. Without a doubt, he created the perfect storm of events and set himself up for this fall.

But that doesn't lessen the pain or sadness about the terrible price he's going to pay for 3 minutes of a mental breakdown, where no one even got hurt.

I keep thinking about how old we will be he gets out. His grandparents may be gone. I wonder if his little dog will be alive. Or how will he get a job when he does get out. The missed opportunities for taking over our family business. The holidays he will be gone. Such a loss for us all!

I hadn't realized how tough our laws are, having never been exposed to them before. I hadn't realized that the California prosecutors are so powerful. Up until this incident, I had always thought the law was just. But my experience now is that the system is overly punitive and is frightening as hell. I now understand why our prisons are over crowded. The system is broken. I do intend to be an advocate in the future. But first, I've got to move through this grief.

I know so many of you have shared my pain and sorrow. It's a hell of a place for any parent to be in.
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Old 02-08-2018, 07:19 PM
xolady xolady is offline
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I'm so sorry I know it's not the same for myself as I never had a child. I dealt with my husband in prison and a nephew. I used to say to myself at least he's alive and I know he's safe. Well after a while your emotions aren't so raw but right now big huggs MOM!!!
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:16 PM
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Reading your post is like looking in a mirror. No one can feel your pain right now but I understand it. Our stories are almost word for word identical. Sad truth is justice in California is a joke. A result of a couple of decades of misguided policies and public initiatives. DA's are far too powerful, they care little about people involved or justice, they primarily want heads to mount on their wall. Judges have far too little power and the rare instance they exercise it, the public castigates them. The public is woefully ignorant, politicians and press keep them that way.

A sentence like that - friends and family will be there initially. Which is good. In time that is likely to fade. He needs you for the long haul. This (I mean the criminal justice and sentencing process) will not stop feeling wrong to you which makes that tough. I found more than enough negative people in this experience judging my son's actions and how I have handled it. I put them aside and I have no regrets. Don't need that shit. There are new people to find who will help you through this. This is a good place to start.

Your son "will be sentenced"? It is not over yet? He's in county or on bail but has taken a plea? Or trial didn't go as you hoped?

Wishing you all peace.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:59 PM
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I am so sorry for you. This is a pain like no other. Is there any chance for early release with good time behavior? Parole isn't easy but it does give them a chance to be out with loved ones. If there is a support group in your area, find it. Knowing there are others who have been where you are does help. They can offer advice. Right now just breathe & then start doing what you can to learn more about the process.
Hang in there & know there are people here who can help you along this road.
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Old 02-09-2018, 07:38 AM
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I'm sorry for what happened to your Son. Take care of yourself first and stay strong. He will need your love and support now more than he ever has. You will also learn things you never expected from some "friends and family members". Some will surprise you, but more will probably disappoint you. I quickly decided that the fair weather ones were never friends anyway, and I was much better off removing them from my life entirely.

My anger at the criminal injustice system in America will never diminish. In reality, it is nothing like its propaganda about fairness and justice.
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:56 AM
Halo527 Halo527 is offline
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Originally Posted by gvalliant View Post
Reading your post is like looking in a mirror. No one can feel your pain right now but I understand it. Our stories are almost word for word identical. Sad truth is justice in California is a joke. A result of a couple of decades of misguided policies and public initiatives. DA's are far too powerful, they care little about people involved or justice, they primarily want heads to mount on their wall. Judges have far too little power and the rare instance they exercise it, the public castigates them. The public is woefully ignorant, politicians and press keep them that way.

A sentence like that - friends and family will be there initially. Which is good. In time that is likely to fade. He needs you for the long haul. This (I mean the criminal justice and sentencing process) will not stop feeling wrong to you which makes that tough. I found more than enough negative people in this experience judging my son's actions and how I have handled it. I put them aside and I have no regrets. Don't need that shit. There are new people to find who will help you through this. This is a good place to start.

Your son "will be sentenced"? It is not over yet? He's in county or on bail but has taken a plea? Or trial didn't go as you hoped?

Wishing you all peace.
Thank you so much for your response. I haven't told very many people, just those that know and love my son well. I know it will probably be written about in our paper, as it was when it happened, but I will not read the cruel comments that people make. I have judged other parents in the past myself when I read stories of what their kids did, but I know better now. There may be some instances where your are raised by terrible parents, but that is just not true in every case, and certainly in mine.

Our tragic story started with a head injury at age 14, which almost killed him. Then years of self medication with drugs to handle the subsequent mental illness that comes with a head injury. I tried to convince my son that he had issues, but he would only get mad at me. Right up until the day before the incident, I tried to intervene. I did not realize that he was having a nervous breakdown. The DA could care less about that. Our prisons are the new mental hospitals.

We are still in the plea bargain process and my son has been in county jail for 9 months. The original plea deal was 17 years. Current is 14. Judge gave an indicated sentence of 12. Our lawyer has to go back and try to push for 10 to 12. I don't think it's a good idea to plea guilty, as we were told he would end up with 13 strikes. WTH? The laws are crazy.

I suspect by March everything will be resolved and he will be sentenced. Right now he is very angry and is taking it out on me. Who can blame him? I know how I would feel. I know he doesn't mean it.

How is your son surviving this experience? Is he ok with it?
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:32 PM
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Wow...Im So Very Sorry. Absolutely NOTHING can prepare you for this. Its so hard to know what to do, and how to react. Many of us have been thru this but each case is different...The emotions are the same though.
One bit of advice...Try not to look too far ahead. Your thinking of too many things. What you think is your head is the future, will not be. Its never as you think it will be. This is why you need not look so far ahead...a week, a month is all. The rest will show itself in time.
Much Love To You...
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Halo527 View Post
How is your son surviving this experience? Is he ok with it?
He is not doing OK and he is struggling to cope with prison. That has no bearing on how your son does. 2 1/2 into his 12 year sentence. Like your son, mine traces to a serious injury; parachute accident in the army. Led a few years later to a lot of metal screws and braces and rods in his lower spine. He probably would have managed through that. But there was also years of prescription opiates. A lot of people in this forum know what those prescriptions often lead to.

I'm sorry your son is angry with you, that makes it more difficult. Hope that changes. As parents we can do things that help them survive and be able to succeed when this is over. It will take time to process this. Don't give up, you will figure out things you can do to help him.

Meantime keep after that lawyer and keep him fighting. Every year matters.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:45 AM
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He is not doing OK and he is struggling to cope with prison. That has no bearing on how your son does. 2 1/2 into his 12 year sentence. Like your son, mine traces to a serious injury; parachute accident in the army. Led a few years later to a lot of metal screws and braces and rods in his lower spine. He probably would have managed through that. But there was also years of prescription opiates. A lot of people in this forum know what those prescriptions often lead to.

I'm sorry your son is angry with you, that makes it more difficult. Hope that changes. As parents we can do things that help them survive and be able to succeed when this is over. It will take time to process this. Don't give up, you will figure out things you can do to help him.

Meantime keep after that lawyer and keep him fighting. Every year matters.
So sorry to hear that he is not doing well.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:14 PM
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Default Sharing the Pain With You of Son's Incarceration

Dear Halo527:

My heart goes out to you and I definitely will keep you, your family and son in my prayers. I believe I know what you are going through as I have been there and am going through it again (I'll give some of my background below). I like you, am in a lot of pain and cry daily; but also at the same time I try to laugh as I believe that you and I and other parents deserve to be healthy and happy.

The suggestions that I am giving you are from my past mistakes and definitely are not intended to insult you or anyone and are only my suggestions that you can take or discard. I would suggest that you do no enable him as I did, let him hit his bottom and find his own way back up, even if he has mental problems or addiction issues, as he has to want it and it will be more valuable to him if he achieves victory and not you or someone else achieving victory for him. Also remember that this too will pass and he could be out in 1 , 5, 7 or 12 years How many times does life take an unexpected turn either up or down so even though they say 12 years it may not be. I suggest this in hopes that when your son does complete his sentence that he has the desire to do whatever it takes to stay out so that it is more comfortable in the real world facing daily life challenges than it is being incarcerated, I believe I made it too easy for my son while he was incarcerated by writing him 2-3 times a week, visiting at least every other week and sending money weekly plus commissary food. In the meantime keep your hope, keep praying and take care of yourself and be thankful for all the blessings you do have, and I am definitely not saying that you do not already, you may well be ahead of me. Despite my situation, I am thankful for my great husband, that my wonderful son is still alive and there is a chance (yes wonderful, I believe that he will come back to himself), my special and dear family and friends, my relationship with God and many other things. Hopefully this is the end of your bad season in your son's life and in yours and that you both enjoy a new healthy season. That is what I am hoping and praying for all of us enduring this type of sorrow.

In hindsight I realized that I enabled my son and neglected other things in life, including my husband, step children, other family and myself as I was so intent on making sure he was o.k. in and out of prison. If I could do it again I would of have been there for him but not to the toxic level that I was, I definitely was out of balance. Since I have been through it so many times I realize that my past attempts to help and worry only hurt him and me and other family and friends. So this time I am not there for him and have not spoken or wrote to my son for the last 5 months and do not know when I well and I may not for a while and may not for years as I told him this last year that we (my husband & I ) would help him in any way as long as he was doing his part by going to the doctors and meetings to keep drug free, if he did not and went back to jail or prison I told him I would not be there for him and he did not keep to his end of the bargain so I am not there for him, even though he was sentenced to 12 years. I know some people may judge me negatively for that; but they have not been in my shoes.

I do not know for sure what your previous history was before your son was sentenced, but if it was like mine, it has been full of nights and days praying for him, worrying about him, dreading those telephone calls saying he is hurt, needs money, has been arrested, or is in trouble and even though there were good times, they were smothered by all the bad times full of anger, dram, abusive behavior, tears, being conned, being blamed, lies, dishonesty and disrespect. And despite that I still forgave him and tried to help him emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially and put him above myself, above my husband, above other family and as much as I hate to say it, I put him before God, which has stopped. I bailed him out time and time again, by baling him out of jail, paying for his rent, paying for attorneys, paying for medical bills, giving him cash money, buying or financing multiple vehicles, etc., etc., etc. or by me pulling favors or by me asking my husband to pull favors with our friends in the law system as we are both law abiding citizens with friends that have connections, all of this stopped also. I definitely at one time was an enabler who hurt him more than I helped him even though hurting him was the last thing I wanted to do. I now choose to put God first, then my husband, others and myself. I will never give up on my son; but will love him and pray for him afar.

Some additional background: I am the mother of adult son who just turned 37 and he is my only son and who was incarcerated for the third time in October 2017 for an additional 12 years. It has been a constant repeat of wrong choices and incarceration. When he was young between the ages of 16 and 20, he was in jail in and of jail. The first time he was in prison, he was 20 years old and served 4 years, came out in 2005 and again arrested and in and out of jail, arrested on bigger criminal charges in 2009, spent a year in county jail came out they gave him plea for 9 years he went berserk led police on a wild car chase, was caught, arrested and sentenced to 12 years in 2010. He only served 5, was granted parole in July 2015, arrested on a DWI in November 2015 spent over a year in county jail. Came back out on parole in January 2017, wrecked 2 vehicles, went to hospital ER 3+ times on drug and/or mental emergencies and was in jail twice within 9-1/2 months and was sentenced another 12 years. It has been a heart breaking experience with much more horrible events and drama during the last 2 decades. My son has mental and drug and alcohol addiction problems; but sometimes I think his mental problems are more self inflicted by his drug and alcohol abuse. I and his family have been there to help him move in a positive direction and to overcome his mental and addition problems; but for whatever reason he does not want it as bad as I do or other people in his life.

When sober and in his right mind he is such a personable man, handsome, friendly, very giving, caring and talented and very well liked by people, in fact when people find out about his past or current incarceration they can't believe it as he is very good at hiding it from people who do not have a history with him. But when he is abusing not only street drugs but prescription drugs and alcohol he is someone that I do not even know, he is evil and scary. And yes I consider myself a good mother even despite all of this, I did not turn my head when he was in his teens. I tried to get him help with doctors, counselors, etc. then and continued to try to help him the next twenty years. I of course at times have felt like a failure; but know that I am not and choose to lean on and Trust in God and believe that he has a good plan not only for me but for my son. My son has to achieve this victory on his own. I could go on; but won't.

I hope Halo527 that his reply may be of some help to you and if not you perhaps someone else. I think even if no one reads it, it may have helped me in writing it Ė lol! Hang in there and take care of yourself and know that this too will pass and that miracles do happen. Good luck to you and your son!
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2018, 05:04 PM
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Dear Halo527:

My heart goes out to you and I definitely will keep you, your family and son in my prayers. I believe I know what you are going through as I have been there and am going through it again (I'll give some of my background below). I like you, am in a lot of pain and cry daily; but also at the same time I try to laugh as I believe that you and I and other parents deserve to be healthy and happy.

The suggestions that I am giving you are from my past mistakes and definitely are not intended to insult you or anyone and are only my suggestions that you can take or discard. I would suggest that you do no enable him as I did, let him hit his bottom and find his own way back up, even if he has mental problems or addiction issues, as he has to want it and it will be more valuable to him if he achieves victory and not you or someone else achieving victory for him. Also remember that this too will pass and he could be out in 1 , 5, 7 or 12 years How many times does life take an unexpected turn either up or down so even though they say 12 years it may not be. I suggest this in hopes that when your son does complete his sentence that he has the desire to do whatever it takes to stay out so that it is more comfortable in the real world facing daily life challenges than it is being incarcerated, I believe I made it too easy for my son while he was incarcerated by writing him 2-3 times a week, visiting at least every other week and sending money weekly plus commissary food. In the meantime keep your hope, keep praying and take care of yourself and be thankful for all the blessings you do have, and I am definitely not saying that you do not already, you may well be ahead of me. Despite my situation, I am thankful for my great husband, that my wonderful son is still alive and there is a chance (yes wonderful, I believe that he will come back to himself), my special and dear family and friends, my relationship with God and many other things. Hopefully this is the end of your bad season in your son's life and in yours and that you both enjoy a new healthy season. That is what I am hoping and praying for all of us enduring this type of sorrow.

In hindsight I realized that I enabled my son and neglected other things in life, including my husband, step children, other family and myself as I was so intent on making sure he was o.k. in and out of prison. If I could do it again I would of have been there for him but not to the toxic level that I was, I definitely was out of balance. Since I have been through it so many times I realize that my past attempts to help and worry only hurt him and me and other family and friends. So this time I am not there for him and have not spoken or wrote to my son for the last 5 months and do not know when I well and I may not for a while and may not for years as I told him this last year that we (my husband & I ) would help him in any way as long as he was doing his part by going to the doctors and meetings to keep drug free, if he did not and went back to jail or prison I told him I would not be there for him and he did not keep to his end of the bargain so I am not there for him, even though he was sentenced to 12 years. I know some people may judge me negatively for that; but they have not been in my shoes.

I do not know for sure what your previous history was before your son was sentenced, but if it was like mine, it has been full of nights and days praying for him, worrying about him, dreading those telephone calls saying he is hurt, needs money, has been arrested, or is in trouble and even though there were good times, they were smothered by all the bad times full of anger, dram, abusive behavior, tears, being conned, being blamed, lies, dishonesty and disrespect. And despite that I still forgave him and tried to help him emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially and put him above myself, above my husband, above other family and as much as I hate to say it, I put him before God, which has stopped. I bailed him out time and time again, by baling him out of jail, paying for his rent, paying for attorneys, paying for medical bills, giving him cash money, buying or financing multiple vehicles, etc., etc., etc. or by me pulling favors or by me asking my husband to pull favors with our friends in the law system as we are both law abiding citizens with friends that have connections, all of this stopped also. I definitely at one time was an enabler who hurt him more than I helped him even though hurting him was the last thing I wanted to do. I now choose to put God first, then my husband, others and myself. I will never give up on my son; but will love him and pray for him afar.

Some additional background: I am the mother of adult son who just turned 37 and he is my only son and who was incarcerated for the third time in October 2017 for an additional 12 years. It has been a constant repeat of wrong choices and incarceration. When he was young between the ages of 16 and 20, he was in jail in and of jail. The first time he was in prison, he was 20 years old and served 4 years, came out in 2005 and again arrested and in and out of jail, arrested on bigger criminal charges in 2009, spent a year in county jail came out they gave him plea for 9 years he went berserk led police on a wild car chase, was caught, arrested and sentenced to 12 years in 2010. He only served 5, was granted parole in July 2015, arrested on a DWI in November 2015 spent over a year in county jail. Came back out on parole in January 2017, wrecked 2 vehicles, went to hospital ER 3+ times on drug and/or mental emergencies and was in jail twice within 9-1/2 months and was sentenced another 12 years. It has been a heart breaking experience with much more horrible events and drama during the last 2 decades. My son has mental and drug and alcohol addiction problems; but sometimes I think his mental problems are more self inflicted by his drug and alcohol abuse. I and his family have been there to help him move in a positive direction and to overcome his mental and addition problems; but for whatever reason he does not want it as bad as I do or other people in his life.

When sober and in his right mind he is such a personable man, handsome, friendly, very giving, caring and talented and very well liked by people, in fact when people find out about his past or current incarceration they can't believe it as he is very good at hiding it from people who do not have a history with him. But when he is abusing not only street drugs but prescription drugs and alcohol he is someone that I do not even know, he is evil and scary. And yes I consider myself a good mother even despite all of this, I did not turn my head when he was in his teens. I tried to get him help with doctors, counselors, etc. then and continued to try to help him the next twenty years. I of course at times have felt like a failure; but know that I am not and choose to lean on and Trust in God and believe that he has a good plan not only for me but for my son. My son has to achieve this victory on his own. I could go on; but won't.

I hope Halo527 that his reply may be of some help to you and if not you perhaps someone else. I think even if no one reads it, it may have helped me in writing it Ė lol! Hang in there and take care of yourself and know that this too will pass and that miracles do happen. Good luck to you and your son!
Thank you so much for your heartfelt response and advice. Sometimes our journey is very difficult. There are parts of your story I can relate to. I think the best year of my life was in 2016 when my son moved away for a year. When he came back, I d I d not want him too, but he claimed he was "changed" and for a while it seemed this was true, until he slipped back into his usual ways, also using drugs, acting awful and doing bad things. I was not surprised that he got himself in trouble, but I am very sad about it. And I do believe that he is not being given a fair deal by the DA, and am not the only one. But this is also part of why I am so upset, because I was naive enough to believe that our system of law is fair , compassionate and just and my faith in the justice system is shattered. I hope my son will learn from this experience and come out a better man in the end. I hope your son does too. ♡
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:08 PM
SeekingJoy SeekingJoy is offline
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Your welcome and yes our journeys are at times difficult. I know how you feel about the DA, I too believe my son did not get a fair deal by the DA and used his pass and threats to scare him into signing for the 12 years. And thank you so much for your kind words and reply.
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:32 AM
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As I read everyone's posts I think how sad it is that we are on this journey with our kids. The many hopes and dreams that we have for our kids have been majorly derailed. Their bad choices have affected us to the core and for us parents it is a walk of commitment, perserverence and faith.
Twelve years is a long time. And Yes Halo527 you are seeing the injustice system up close and personal. I, like you, have become very disenchanted. I've been on this forum for a long time and it has been a Godsend especially in the beginning years of this walk. I don't post here like I use to. I've become more of a peeping TOM.

It has been a long hard and very sad journey for our family. Like your son, our son was a very young minded 21. We have 3 sons, he is the middle child. Growing up he rarely gave us trouble and was our easy child to love....and still is.
Long story short he and some "so called" friends went out one night and decided to commit a couple of armed robberies at an apartment bldg. parking lot. My son drove. Only one of the boys actually got out of the jeep and committed the A/R's.
Our family and friends were and still are dumbfounded that our son would ever be involved in something like this.
Well, what's done was done. He was definitely a follower! He said they didn't put much time into thinking about getting caught, he also never dreamed he'd be in so much trouble. Such naive thinking at the time.
The boy that actually committed the a/r's elevated the crime to an entirely new level by holding up two college kids male and female. This kid had the gull to tell the young lady to get undressed...mind you this is in January. She was in total fear of her life and then was being told to take off her clothes, which she took of her top and bra. When I first heard this I could not believe my ears. I was in such disbelief and so angry!!!
The night this all went down I had no idea. My son always called to tell me when he was on his way home. It was a rarity that he would stay out late. I remember going to bed worried that it was not like him not to call me. My worst fear was that he spent the night with a girl.
The next morning there was no call and I was feeling a bit of anxiety. Then around 1pm I rec'd a call from an older brother of one of the boys. He asked if I had heard from my son. Well he knew I hadn't heard anything and went on to tell me that they had been arrested. And the more he told me the worse it got.
In Georgia if you are a party to the crime you are as guilty as if you did it yourself. Plus the County we live in is known for being extremely heavy handed. In the end the DA was out for blood. He was unwilling to lessen the charges to below an armed robbery. Like you said in your original post they want to see a win! This DA knew this case would be an easy slam dunk for him since all 4 that were involved willingly gave statements to the police. The main perpetrator was sentence 25 years to serve 18 years. My son and the other boy took a plea to do 20 years serve 12. The girl that was with them rec'd a one year/time served with 5 years probation. Only because the boys said she was with them to get a ride home. That's fine but REALLY she could have been the voice of reason. Instead she said she needed a ride home and fortunately the D/A gave her a pass.
I will never say my son did not deserve to do time for his participation in this crime but 12 years with 8 years probation is excessive. It's a mandatory sentence so no good time can be earned. It's an outrage!! Especially being a first time offender who never had any past. I know I am venting as you can see I have still not let my anger go.
My husband and I bonded our son out of jail so we had almost a year together and I will tell you we were like siamese twins.
What still angers me is the day our son had to go to court to accept his plea and turn himself in the judge gave him this Father son pep talk and told him why he knew he wasn't a criminal yadda, yadda, yadda. REALLY?????? It was very emotional. Not only was our family upset but the courtroom recorder was crying and the officers were trying to keep it together. People waiting for their court call with their families were telling us they were praying for our family. My brother'n law was so upset he yoddled at the DA "WHAT JUST WENT DOWN?" I know I'm rambling but like you are seeing these DA's hold way too much power and do what they dang well please. The little "god" complex has kicked in.

Our family has been doing this walk for 10 years with a little less than 2 years to go. I get peeved everytime I see someone sentenced to do less time then my son. Or they've been lucky enough to plea their charges down and they are doing significantly less time for a hands on crime. Or they've been given first time offender so they can do there time, stay out of trouble and never have any record. These inmates are serving time but you will not find them on the DOC website. The system is not JUST!!!

With all that being said my son has been a model inmate. He's rarely complains and is extremely grateful. We as a family have experienced much saddness. His youngest brother struggled with addiction and we lost him 4 years ago. There is no greater grief.
When we lost our youngest son we visited our son the next morning in prison and he was not concerned for his own feelings. He put his arms around his dad and said "I'm so sorry for all the pain that I've caused you".
I know that God has walked with us on this dark road and we are starting to see the light at the end of this long tunnel.
I'm sorry your son is taking his anger out on you. I pray that he will come around and see that you are not his enemy. He probably already realizes that but he's not ready to accept and take responsiblity for his actions.

Do try and take care of yourself. This is a difficult journey I have had to get on my knees and cling to God's promises every day. I'm always sad to see another parent come to this forum. Although I will tell you it is truly a blessing to come here and be able to pour out your heart, get advice and support, celebrate and even at times have a laugh or two with people that understand your heartache.
Prayers for you, your son and family.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:55 AM
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Hey I was off my chain last night. I guess just reading your initial post brought back memories.
I know how devastated you are but try and look at the silver lining. I have to believe the night my son got himself into trouble had they not been arrested they may have continued with bad behavior.
I want to believe it was just a one night of insanity. I think about what if they’d not been arrested? What if there had been a next time and that next time included them being met up with a gun. I choose to believe although the consequences have been devastating God spared my son’s life.
I do believe God allows pain and consequences to enter our lives. It’s part of living in a fallen world. These difficult times are not meant to push us away from him but to draw us to him.
I’m sitting in the prison parking lot getting ready to visit my son.
Hang in there you are not alone.
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:43 AM
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As I read everyone's posts I think how sad it is that we are on this journey with our kids. The many hopes and dreams that we have for our kids have been majorly derailed. Their bad choices have affected us to the core and for us parents it is a walk of commitment, perserverence and faith.
Twelve years is a long time. And Yes Halo527 you are seeing the injustice system up close and personal. I, like you, have become very disenchanted. I've been on this forum for a long time and it has been a Godsend especially in the beginning years of this walk. I don't post here like I use to. I've become more of a peeping TOM.

It has been a long hard and very sad journey for our family. Like your son, our son was a very young minded 21. We have 3 sons, he is the middle child. Growing up he rarely gave us trouble and was our easy child to love....and still is.
Long story short he and some "so called" friends went out one night and decided to commit a couple of armed robberies at an apartment bldg. parking lot. My son drove. Only one of the boys actually got out of the jeep and committed the A/R's.
Our family and friends were and still are dumbfounded that our son would ever be involved in something like this.
Well, what's done was done. He was definitely a follower! He said they didn't put much time into thinking about getting caught, he also never dreamed he'd be in so much trouble. Such naive thinking at the time.
The boy that actually committed the a/r's elevated the crime to an entirely new level by holding up two college kids male and female. This kid had the gull to tell the young lady to get undressed...mind you this is in January. She was in total fear of her life and then was being told to take off her clothes, which she took of her top and bra. When I first heard this I could not believe my ears. I was in such disbelief and so angry!!!
The night this all went down I had no idea. My son always called to tell me when he was on his way home. It was a rarity that he would stay out late. I remember going to bed worried that it was not like him not to call me. My worst fear was that he spent the night with a girl.
The next morning there was no call and I was feeling a bit of anxiety. Then around 1pm I rec'd a call from an older brother of one of the boys. He asked if I had heard from my son. Well he knew I hadn't heard anything and went on to tell me that they had been arrested. And the more he told me the worse it got.
In Georgia if you are a party to the crime you are as guilty as if you did it yourself. Plus the County we live in is known for being extremely heavy handed. In the end the DA was out for blood. He was unwilling to lessen the charges to below an armed robbery. Like you said in your original post they want to see a win! This DA knew this case would be an easy slam dunk for him since all 4 that were involved willingly gave statements to the police. The main perpetrator was sentence 25 years to serve 18 years. My son and the other boy took a plea to do 20 years serve 12. The girl that was with them rec'd a one year/time served with 5 years probation. Only because the boys said she was with them to get a ride home. That's fine but REALLY she could have been the voice of reason. Instead she said she needed a ride home and fortunately the D/A gave her a pass.
I will never say my son did not deserve to do time for his participation in this crime but 12 years with 8 years probation is excessive. It's a mandatory sentence so no good time can be earned. It's an outrage!! Especially being a first time offender who never had any past. I know I am venting as you can see I have still not let my anger go.
My husband and I bonded our son out of jail so we had almost a year together and I will tell you we were like siamese twins.
What still angers me is the day our son had to go to court to accept his plea and turn himself in the judge gave him this Father son pep talk and told him why he knew he wasn't a criminal yadda, yadda, yadda. REALLY?????? It was very emotional. Not only was our family upset but the courtroom recorder was crying and the officers were trying to keep it together. People waiting for their court call with their families were telling us they were praying for our family. My brother'n law was so upset he yoddled at the DA "WHAT JUST WENT DOWN?" I know I'm rambling but like you are seeing these DA's hold way too much power and do what they dang well please. The little "god" complex has kicked in.

Our family has been doing this walk for 10 years with a little less than 2 years to go. I get peeved everytime I see someone sentenced to do less time then my son. Or they've been lucky enough to plea their charges down and they are doing significantly less time for a hands on crime. Or they've been given first time offender so they can do there time, stay out of trouble and never have any record. These inmates are serving time but you will not find them on the DOC website. The system is not JUST!!!

With all that being said my son has been a model inmate. He's rarely complains and is extremely grateful. We as a family have experienced much saddness. His youngest brother struggled with addiction and we lost him 4 years ago. There is no greater grief.
When we lost our youngest son we visited our son the next morning in prison and he was not concerned for his own feelings. He put his arms around his dad and said "I'm so sorry for all the pain that I've caused you".
I know that God has walked with us on this dark road and we are starting to see the light at the end of this long tunnel.
I'm sorry your son is taking his anger out on you. I pray that he will come around and see that you are not his enemy. He probably already realizes that but he's not ready to accept and take responsiblity for his actions.

Do try and take care of yourself. This is a difficult journey I have had to get on my knees and cling to God's promises every day. I'm always sad to see another parent come to this forum. Although I will tell you it is truly a blessing to come here and be able to pour out your heart, get advice and support, celebrate and even at times have a laugh or two with people that understand your heartache.
Prayers for you, your son and family.
Crying for you and me. So sorry about your youngest. Sometimes in life we are handed heavy burdens. Praying for your son's future success.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:43 AM
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It is so inspiring to read these posts. I cannot imagine a better world than this one...where people who have been on this sad road, have the courage and take the time to reach a hand back and pull up someone climbing the same rocky mountain.

Seekingjoy posted a story much like my own son's. My son is a bit younger than hers, but he had a 12 year history of incarcerations from age 13 to 25. In spite of my best efforts. I had a bit of enabling in me, but my anger at him for draining me dry stopped that pretty early on. Like her, I said if he went in again, he was on his own. But after maybe 6 months, I did re establish calls and cards, letters and love and then visiting.

My son was more influenced by the loss of family than anything. It made him want to get out and stay out and be part of it again. I do think we have to be supportive with our love and concern, but we do not have to pay their fines and coddle too much. The lesson we give them is that they made this mess and it is painful. we cannot rescue but we can still love. They face the consequences of loss of freedom.

twelve years is a long time and my son was in and out for 12 years, in danger of dying from his own choices of who to be with and what to ingest. I had a cop tell me that my son would not live to be 30. I could only pray and wait for a call from the jail or the morgue.

One mistake can change a life forever. All I had was the knowledge that at least my son was alive. I had already lost a son to heart disease when he was only 2, so to me, knowing my son was alive was some comfort... even if it meant he was in a cage. I could still talk to him and see him.

Halo, I am sorry this happened to you and your family. Since my son's life was so "interesting" and complex, I always watch on tv when someone is led away in handcuffs with such mixed feeling. I am sorry the victims were hurt, but I am also sorry for the family of the inmate, and sorry that his life seems to now be over. My son taught me many things that I never wanted to know.

Our sons matter, and are important whether they are incarcerated or not. God has not forgotten them. There is hope.

I do write to an inmate whose mom passed away. He will get out soon and will need much support as he works his way through the world of a convicted felon. I always tell him that he matters, that God has a plan for his life, the he is important and not forgotten. God has resources and can work in our lives. We can make a difference even in prison. This inmate inspires me with his joy and his kindness. He recently sent me a card that is amazing.

The card shows a deep dark blue sky with two clouds and a sliver of a moon, but lots of twinkling stars. Inside it says, "good friends are like stars...you don't always see them but you know that they are there..."

He wrote in the card that he knows we (my boyfriend and I) are here for him. He said he appreciates that as he works his way through the rough, dark ocean of life...we are here for him, loving him.

you will be there to help your sons navigate this rough ocean. They will use that love and support to strengthen their own faith. They will be better people whether they ever get out or not. They can still be productive and good men. You can be proud of them. They will be your sons for eternity, in this life or the next.

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Old 02-11-2018, 06:02 PM
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Today, our final hope for a reasonable sentence was shattered. My beloved 22 year old son will be sentenced to 12 years in California prison and my heart is breaking. I know this is a normal response from all the threads I've read, but it still can't stop the pain.

The worse thing now is that my son's hope is gone too. We had been holding on to the hope that he would be given a similar sentence to others who have done the same thing, (2 to 5 years), but we have an unsympathetic DA who can throw the book at him due to all of the witnesses to what he did. Without a doubt, he created the perfect storm of events and set himself up for this fall.

But that doesn't lessen the pain or sadness about the terrible price he's going to pay for 3 minutes of a mental breakdown, where no one even got hurt.

I keep thinking about how old we will be he gets out. His grandparents may be gone. I wonder if his little dog will be alive. Or how will he get a job when he does get out. The missed opportunities for taking over our family business. The holidays he will be gone. Such a loss for us all!

I hadn't realized how tough our laws are, having never been exposed to them before. I hadn't realized that the California prosecutors are so powerful. Up until this incident, I had always thought the law was just. But my experience now is that the system is overly punitive and is frightening as hell. I now understand why our prisons are over crowded. The system is broken. I do intend to be an advocate in the future. But first, I've got to move through this grief.

I know so many of you have shared my pain and sorrow. It's a hell of a place for any parent to be in.
Dear Halo527!! A wonderful friend I made in this forum almost 10 years ago, when our middle son was first taken to jail and then prison, alerted me to your post because our stories with a son who has suffered traumatic brain at injury leading to self-medication, then leading to behavior that gets them in trouble with the law are similar. I have just lived it much longer than you. Just so we are on the same page: one of the top causes of mental illness is brain injury. Drug use is another cause. The brain injury victim tends to self medicate with street drugs so the brain gets a double whammy. And guess what? The psychotropic drugs given to those individuals often tend not to help and they are very toxic. It is the perfect storm. Your posting does not make it clear whether he was already sentenced or not. The second time our son was arrested (this past Easter) he threatened people who started the altercation with him (this is not an excuse, he could have called the police);to make things worst he resisted arrest and damaged the police car while in handcuffs. But like your son, he did not touch anyone. Our son was charged with so many counts (he chased 4 men) that he was facing 24 years. Because he had a previous record, we researched and hired the best criminal attorney in town. He got 2 years. This time, our son is full on board with firm plans to do everything possible to stay out of trouble. We live in a third strike state. Also, he is older (almost twice the age of your son) and he is a lot more understanding of his condition and works cooperatively with the medical team in jail and prison. I also am able to explain in detail to him, at his request, how prescription drugs might or might not work for him and which ones to stay away from. He also listens carefully to me for he wants to be able to discuss his conditions, medications, side-effects, and various treatments with the nurses and doctors. When he is released this September (if he earns early release for good behavior which we think he will as he has done last time ) he will also work with an acupuncturist who is known for treating addiction -- our son suffers from alcoholism and that is what gets him into trouble -- every time). Again, why am I telling you all this? Because we travel similar paths. I just have been traveling this path for almost 30 years from his first head injury (a car accident caused by a trunk driver). Even though our son has had cumulative head injuries, he is now doing much better. I just want to give you hope and the knowledge that you ARE NOT ALONE. Finally, we can see that our son has a real chance of getting better. Last time in prison (2 years for a much more serious infraction -- he had a public defender, but the attorney happened to be young, smart and "hungry" so our son only got 2 1/2 years -- he served a couple of months short of 2 years) he was always edgy, angry, argumentative, and most of the time bordering on the unpleasant during long visits (we just never gave up and would make the very long trip to see him 2 x a month). Now, we have concrete and real reasons to think he will do better once released. If he had not been arrested when he was -- both times - we might not have him still around. And yes, the first time, my husband and I took care of his 3 dogs and had to care for the older one until she died before our son's release. This time there is a good chance that one of the dogs will not make it, but I care for her well (our youngest child, a daughter, is a veterinarian -- BTW, she euthanized the first dog. After she gave the dog the injection and the dog took her last breath, my daughter and I hugged and cried right there in the operating room with the assistants present.It was very sad.) Another thing my son has going for him, is that he likes to exercise. And for someone with a head injury like your boy and mine, exercise is crucial. I am thinking of you. Incidentally, if you son was not sentenced yet, and you have a public defender, please see if you can get a GOOD criminal lawyer at this point. It makes all the difference.

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Old 02-11-2018, 09:58 PM
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My heart hurts for you and your son. you're both going through a horrible time and I pray God sheds his sufficient grace on you and your son. I'm so grateful to all of the great response. I'm sure it helps in some way to know people care and can empathize with your situation. I agree the prison and legal system is broken. Once you come to terms with it all and are sure your son is ok, I hope you do fight to improve the system. None of us know when we'll be affected by it. Lean on a sovereign God and continue to be there for you son. He may be mad now but I'm sure he loves you and appreciates your help, even if he hasn't said it. Again, so sorry you're going through this.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:42 AM
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Dear Halo527!! A wonderful friend I made in this forum almost 10 years ago, when our middle son was first taken to jail and then prison, alerted me to your post because our stories with a son who has suffered traumatic brain at injury leading to self-medication, then leading to behavior that gets them in trouble with the law are similar. I have just lived it much longer than you. Just so we are on the same page: one of the top causes of mental illness is brain injury. Drug use is another cause. The brain injury victim tends to self medicate with street drugs so the brain gets a double whammy. And guess what? The psychotropic drugs given to those individuals often tend not to help and they are very toxic. It is the perfect storm. Your posting does not make it clear whether he was already sentenced or not. The second time our son was arrested (this past Easter) he threatened people who started the altercation with him (this is not an excuse, he could have called the police);to make things worst he resisted arrest and damaged the police car while in handcuffs. But like your son, he did not touch anyone. Our son was charged with so many counts (he chased 4 men) that he was facing 24 years. Because he had a previous record, we researched and hired the best criminal attorney in town. He got 2 years. This time, our son is full on board with firm plans to do everything possible to stay out of trouble. We live in a third strike state. Also, he is older (almost twice the age of your son) and he is a lot more understanding of his condition and works cooperatively with the medical team in jail and prison. I also am able to explain in detail to him, at his request, how prescription drugs might or might not work for him and which ones to stay away from. He also listens carefully to me for he wants to be able to discuss his conditions, medications, side-effects, and various treatments with the nurses and doctors. When he is released this September (if he earns early release for good behavior which we think he will as he has done last time ) he will also work with an acupuncturist who is known for treating addiction -- our son suffers from alcoholism and that is what gets him into trouble -- every time). Again, why am I telling you all this? Because we travel similar paths. I just have been traveling this path for almost 30 years from his first head injury (a car accident caused by a trunk driver). Even though our son has had cumulative head injuries, he is now doing much better. I just want to give you hope and the knowledge that you ARE NOT ALONE. Finally, we can see that our son has a real chance of getting better. Last time in prison (2 years for a much more serious infraction -- he had a public defender, but the attorney happened to be young, smart and "hungry" so our son only got 2 1/2 years -- he served a couple of months short of 2 years) he was always edgy, angry, argumentative, and most of the time bordering on the unpleasant during long visits (we just never gave up and would make the very long trip to see him 2 x a month). Now, we have concrete and real reasons to think he will do better once released. If he had not been arrested when he was -- both times - we might not have him still around. And yes, the first time, my husband and I took care of his 3 dogs and had to care for the older one until she died before our son's release. This time there is a good chance that one of the dogs will not make it, but I care for her well (our youngest child, a daughter, is a veterinarian -- BTW, she euthanized the first dog. After she gave the dog the injection and the dog took her last breath, my daughter and I hugged and cried right there in the operating room with the assistants present.It was very sad.) Another thing my son has going for him, is that he likes to exercise. And for someone with a head injury like your boy and mine, exercise is crucial. I am thinking of you. Incidentally, if you son was not sentenced yet, and you have a public defender, please see if you can get a GOOD criminal lawyer at this point. It makes all the difference.
Hello CCs Mom! The brain injury throws a whole new dimension on mental illness and as you may be aware, there is current news about its effects on people. I became aware of the after effects when my son would become enraged over things that would not make most people act that way. It was very bad when he would use street drugs. I began to research and I found The Amen clinic in southern California. Dr Daniel Amen is a pioneer in the work of TBIs and has worked with the NFL. He is a Neurologist and psychiatrist. He has written amazing books that have provided great guidance on how people can overcome a tbi and you and your son should read them, as his treatment doesn't always deal with using medications, which I really like.

I have learned that people with a tbi don't have the same levels of "gray matter" in their brains. Gray matter is what keeps us feeling good. I believe when the doctors talk about people with mental illness havING a chemical Imbalance, that they are correct. It's just that no two people are alike and so the same drugs don't work for everyone. At The Amen clinic, they do brain scans which helps them to pinpoint what the brain needs.

I had one done for my son when he was 18 and it was clear that something was going on with him, but he did not want to hear there was anything wrong with him, so he refused treatment. He got himself in trouble with the law at 18 by commiting grand theft. He received six months, but only served 6 weeks. It didn't teach him any lessons. He continued to use drugs and break the law, but didn't get caught. No amount of conversation did any good. I even tried to talk him into treatment a few days before he got arrested.

I finally got him to stop using drugs and to go to work. But then he had a situation with his girlfriend breaking up with him and he went on an alcoholic binge. She sent him a picture of another guy kissing her deliberately and it pushed him over the edge. He broke into the guys house and committed an assault. There were 5 people there and he was hit with many charges, because he had a gun and waved it around (where did he get a gun?) No one had a scratch on them but they were scared and who can blame them. Part of the long sentence he is facing is a 10 year gun enhancement. I dont know where all this is going to end up, but I'm sick about it. My son has hit rock bottom and I am afraid he will use suicide as an option, so I'm also very frightened. You may know that it is not easy to talk sense and rationale to someone who has a tbi. In fact, when I asked our doctor what to do when my son wouldn't listen, he told us that sometimes people with tbis end up in jail a few times before they understand that they have a problem. How prophetic his words have turned put to be!

I also wanted to share one more bit of research I read. One article on the Web talked about using Propanolol, a blood pressure medicine successfully to handle the rages that can come with a tbi. This was from a study in England. When your son comes out, you may want to have him see a Neurologist, to see if this is an option.

Thank you for reaching out to me. I wish your son success in life.
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  #20  
Old 02-26-2018, 04:57 AM
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Whatever the charge and conviction, time and again it comes down to the same thing - drugs - often starting out from an injury. My son broke his shoulder and his knee in the same year, when he was 12. They gave him lots of percocet. I didn't realize he had become addicted to it. But, I did realize he was acting crazy. 3 psychologists and inpatient treatment and we were told he was bipolar, ADD, and oppositional defiance disorder. No one pointed out that he was an opiate addict. Some how he managed to stay out of legal trouble except for a few underage drinking tickets. Then, like others here, party to a crime. A private lawyer and good deal that he threw away when he went off the deep end and jumped the pharmacy desk, held a knife out and stayed there taking drugs. He didn't try to steal them and leave. He just wanted to die. A plea agreement for aggravate assault which could have been 6 to 10 years, and the judge ordered 8. Unfortunately, drugs abound in prison, so they are not safe from it there either.

We will continue to have this problem until both our legal/prison system and our medical system changes and we find a way to treat the underlying problems of addiction and mental health.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:10 PM
Pwilmington Pwilmington is offline
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Today, our final hope for a reasonable sentence was shattered. My beloved 22 year old son will be sentenced to 12 years in California prison and my heart is breaking. I know this is a normal response from all the threads I've read, but it still can't stop the pain.

The worse thing now is that my son's hope is gone too. We had been holding on to the hope that he would be given a similar sentence to others who have done the same thing, (2 to 5 years), but we have an unsympathetic DA who can throw the book at him due to all of the witnesses to what he did. Without a doubt, he created the perfect storm of events and set himself up for this fall.

But that doesn't lessen the pain or sadness about the terrible price he's going to pay for 3 minutes of a mental breakdown, where no one even got hurt.

I keep thinking about how old we will be he gets out. His grandparents may be gone. I wonder if his little dog will be alive. Or how will he get a job when he does get out. The missed opportunities for taking over our family business. The holidays he will be gone. Such a loss for us all!

I hadn't realized how tough our laws are, having never been exposed to them before. I hadn't realized that the California prosecutors are so powerful. Up until this incident, I had always thought the law was just. But my experience now is that the system is overly punitive and is frightening as hell. I now understand why our prisons are over crowded. The system is broken. I do intend to be an advocate in the future. But first, I've got to move through this grief.

I know so many of you have shared my pain and sorrow. It's a hell of a place for any parent to be in.
Praying for you and your son. My son is 25 he will be turning 26 Tuesday in Prison. It's so hard but, I just pray and thank God he is alive and take it day by day. Praying for you and your son
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:44 PM
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Welcome to Prison Talk and to the Parent's forum. Birthdays in prison are difficult for everyone, but he is one year closer to the end of his sentence.
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:10 PM
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I can't imagine the pain you're feeling. I'm sorry this has happened to your family. Sending positive vibes your way!
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:19 PM
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As most of you have written this is a totally unknown area for me. Dealing with a daughter who will be sentenced in the next 6 weeks to years of prison, I am like a zombie. The grief is overwhelming and constant. I too, am agonizing over the life events she will miss, the family life we have enjoyed so much- and grieving that she will live with this stigma for the remainder of her life. How do you find the strength? I want to equally wrap her up and send her away to some distant land as much as I want to yell at her for what she has done to herself, her dad and her siblings.

I donít know how to tell others & I pray that I have been a good servant in treating others fairly if they were faced with this. I just donít know anyone that well who has faced this. I want to spend as much time with her as possible, yet am so heartbroken and ill at what she has done that I donít want to say anything hurtful to her-so need to stay away for a bit.

I am obsessing over her being abused or frightened or hurt in prison. I have no idea of when how or how much we can visit her. Will we be able to touch her to put our arms around her? What happens to her addiction and her underlying medical conditions that still need to be treated? So many questions, so much anxiety, fear, embarrassment, pain and the feeling that I just wish I could close my eyes to sleep forever.

I appreciate any good thoughts or words of encouragement. If you donít feel so inclined, totally understand, but am too raw right now to hear from anyone who is not positive. Thanks
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:52 PM
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Welcome to Prison Talk and to the Parent's forum. The beginning is the absolutely hardest part of your first exposure to criminal court and prison systems because everything is unknown. Once she is sentenced, and settled into wherever she will serve her sentence, you will have answers to all of your questions, which are unknowable now.

Some people will withdraw from your family, either because they don't know what to say to you, or because they catch the blame/condemnation disease which is so common in our judgmental society. Try to ignore them, and the exaggerated news stories too.

Stay strong and take care of yourself so you can support your Daughter during this awful time. She needs you now more than ever.
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