Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Overheard at the County Jail

While waiting to conduct an interview of my own at the county jail today, I sat and listened as a 40-something woman talked loudly into her cell phone to a child of approximately 10 years of age:

"Hey kiddo..yeah, it's grandma...listen baby, I need you to listen to grandma. Yes, I'm here at the jail. Your daddy saw the judge today, and the judge told your daddy he needs to go to the Bad Boy Jail...Yes, he has to go to the Bad Boy Jail. He has to go to Bad Boy Jail for 2 1/2 years.


No, no, it's not the judge's fault, it's your daddy's fault. Every time he hits someone, he breaks their bones, so now he has to go to Bad Boy Jail so he can learn to be good. He needs to learn to be good, or he is going to keep going to Bad Boy Jail.


Well, baby, I know that - your daddy may not be big, but he's stronger than he knows, so when he hits someone, it hurts. He hit your mom and shattered her eye socket, and he hit Uncle Kiko and broke his jaw, and then he hit that police officers.


Now sweetie, you're just going to come live with grandma, and we are going to live together for however long it takes. First for 2 1/2 years, and then forever, if we have to. You know that grandma loves yuo very much, and I'm not going to let anything happen to you.


No honey, they won't let you see your mommy either, but maybe someday when she gets her things together, you can see her too. Now, I need you to not talk to your sister and brother until I get home, and I'll be home at 5:30, and we'll all go out for pizza like we talked about.


I know, kiddo, but we'll get through this. I love you very much, and we will be fine. I love you. See you at 5:30."

(End call)

(Me, in head) Damn. That sucks. The violence, the incarcerated (now absent) father, dysfunctional mother - you wonder how much of that this kid witnessed.

I tried to imagine myself as that kid on the other end of the phone, being told concepts and words that no child should ever have to hear - jail, shattered eye socket, etc.


I don't know that kid on the other side of that phone call, and it's not yet a case for my Department, but I made a mental note of the family name in the event that the case does come down the line.

I know it doesn't sound "clinical" or anything, but - Fucking parents, man.


prin said...

*hugs* That was one of the saddest things I've read in a while, and it's been a rough week all around... :(

Grateful for the dysfunctional parent I did have...

Tri-Angle said...

Holy Crap
You got a tough job McCue. Even if that family isn't on your "work list" yet.

Nicole said...

lurker, who really enjoys your blog! I have to say this post resonated with me as we are trying to adopt through foster care and that is my less than compassionate thought about a lot of the parents for the kiddos we are looking at...I'm sure glad I had good parents!

Carolina John said...

that's the kind of thing that will mess you up in the head if you let it get to you. i mean that's a tough situation, you don't want anyone to be in that, much less a small kid. still, big boy jail is better than a grave.

the stupidity of the general public never ceases to amaze me.

Duane said...

That really does suck

Mommymeepa said...

That has me so sad.

My sister used to be with a guy and had three kids with him and he has lived pretty much in jail their whole lives. So sad. Kids are the innocent victims.

Go Mom Go said...

That is why we are involved with the Children's Bureau here in Indy. So many stories just like this one...


the crazy jogger said...

:( Oh damn thats SO sad :(

anji said...

You know... it sucks and it's sad... but, at the same time? I'm actually proud of the grandma for being so honest. Yea, your dad is doing dumb things and there are consequences.

I pray the children learn that this kind of thing leads to punishment and hopefully - by the grace of God -- they avoid it.

One can dream...

It reminds me of "up north' where I worked on a reserve... one weekend, over half of my kids had family of some kind (brothers, sisters, moms, dads or all of the above) go to a major city for a drug program. We had to talk about it... everyone knew... it was a massive undertaking and they all prayed their families would "get better".

The reality?

You know just as well as I...

21stCenturyMom said...

What's really almost more tragic about that is that the grandma is clearly pretty together. Sounds like she had kids young, though.

As you know I am also exposed to this sort of insane, violent, drug laced family dynamic and see these kids all the time. Breaks your heart.

21stCenturyMom said...

What I mean is that the together grandma produced a very untogether child who then had kids who are now traumatized and likely to continue the cycle. I had that part in my head and forgot to say it. I'm guessing grandma did a pretty good job raising her kids against huge odds and she lost. That's the bummer. The strength of the abuse cycle that is culturally induced and then becomes a family standard. Awful.

Fe-lady said...

I couldn't call these two "parents"- not ever.
Not seeing them is probably the best thing for the kid.
Hope someone adopts her.