Tonight I’ll be visiting my son at the Detention Center. He said he wanted me to come, but even if he hadn’t, I’d still go. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays; these are the only times, for thirty minutes each visit.
I talked to him last night. He was upset, for a few minutes, when the judge gave the order for him to stay until his hearing in just over two weeks. From what the officers told me, he was fine shortly thereafter.
He won’t admit he did anything wrong – none of it, at least over the last few weeks. He insists he’s a victim. I truly expected more.
I expected that a kid, almost any kid, to be a bit scared and nervous and flustered when kept in detention; I expected some humility. What I received was just more anger, more denial, more lies.
Of course, according to him, it’s “my” fault. “Everyone” said he should go home but I; this is not true, and he’s admitted that to his caseworker. I simply said I could not make the decision, and asked the judge to do so. He did.
Visiting in the Juvenile Detention Center must be very similar to doing so in almost any jail. I have to admit, I’ve never done this before. After going through building security and giving your name and the name of the child, you sign in; I forgot to sign out, but so did the other parents. Maybe that’s not a requirement.
When the Center is ready, the parents go upstairs as a group; you aren’t allowed to use cell phones, or the bathrooms, during visiting hours. Once the parents are in the waiting room, and the kids have been notified, a guard locks the room and sits outside in the hallway. Then the kids come into the room.
Sadly, there were only four parents there; two of them were a couple, visiting both of their boys. We spread out around the room to have a modicum of privacy.
My boy answered all my questions, and things became more comfortable fairly quickly. He said the bed was too hard, the pillow too thin, the food was bad. But they do keep the kids busy, studying, recreation, art, and so forth. His DJO suggested he do some tutoring, because many of the kids can’t read or do simple math even.
He asked about his job(s) and taking his GED; he asked about his brother and dad. Most of his conversation, when not answering my questions, had to do with him trying to get out early and who he (and I) should talk to. I was very noncommittal.
There was no remorse, or apology. No fear, no obvious discomfort other than physical.
I’ll go back today. And every day that I can or that he wants me to come. We’ll see. And hope for the best.