Fix the system

You know those things that you think will never happen to you? It always happens to *someone else*? Yeah, well…it DOES happen to you, and in the way you least expect it. It’s why kids still die of overdoses and drunk-driving accidents – because they too think it will never happen to them.

My son is currently in jail. First offense, something 100% stupid and he knew better. 19 years old, still a boy and yet considered an adult. And for this, he will probably spend the rest of his life paying in one way or another. But here’s the thing – he’s still MY SON. I knew about the stupid thing, and had *hoped* that because of his age and it being a one-time thing and no history of trouble IN THE HISTORY OF EVER that nothing would happen. In my heart, I knew better, because as we’ve always told the kids – the law is what it is. You do something stupid, you take the chance. And here we are.

I’m such a raw mix of emotions – like, I don’t even know what I feel at any given moment. My eyes look like they got stung simultaneously by wasps and I’m honestly so damn confused. But here’s what REALLY kills me.

The system is not set up for people who don’t know what they’re doing. Finding information is like pulling teeth. And the system by which you try to contact your loved one is a fucking SCAM. Seriously. They charge for *everything*. And you have to have two accounts you pay into – one for the inmate (god i hate that word), and one “Friends and Family” account. The *fees* they charge are absolutely astronomical.

They make a phone call? First minute is taken up by simply reciting a stupid message about notifying them of an injury or something, then you have to actually approve the call. After that? I had 3 minutes before the “call failed”. Or his 5 minutes were up. 3 MINUTES OUT OF A 5 MINUTE PHONE CALL. Because of course, you have to pay for more.

And I’m relatively privileged – I don’t have enough money for bail, but I can make sure I can talk to him. I have a cell, I have a computer and internet, and I have access to try and help him however I can. What about those that DON’T? What about those who find themselves in my very same position, but have less access? Shit, I can hardly find out information on how the damn process is supposed to WORK, let alone what *I* should be doing. And again – holiday weekend. Good luck talking to a lawyer on the fucking 4th of July.

Listen. I’m not here to complain about my son getting shafted or anything like that. But I do believe that the system is a mess. And it makes things so much harder for people like me, let alone someone without my access to resources. Honestly, I don’t even know if I’ll post this – I just feel the need to vent. Because at this point? I just don’t know what else to do. And how many others out there, navigating a frightening and sad situation for the first time, find themselves in the same position? It shouldn’t be this way.

PS. Before you come up in my mentions all “shoulda stayed out of trouble”? Don’t bother. I know that, he knows that, fuck off. Seriously. I cannot think of one single person who hasn’t made a stupid mistake – some are just more stupid than others, and SOME JUST HAVEN’T GOTTEN CAUGHT YET. So again? Fuck off. I will block the SHIT out of your ass.

Author: stillmorewords

Small-town girl, living in a big city. Former Coastie, married with 2 kids. Inveterate reader of all genres, though non-fiction and YA currently rule. Former indie bookstore employee, small business owner, tea drinker.

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