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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The teaching that has blossomed for me at the Juvenile Detention Center began 4 years ago, and there has been many kids, many circumstances, many joys, many trials, and many classes. There have been stories, promises of never to come back, promises of a changed life-- all of these promises are made with the purest of hearts who have no support, no direction on the outside, so the constant in their lives is jail- 4 blank walls, a stainless steel toilet, and a stainless steel shelf that makes as a bed with a mattress no bigger than a yoga mat; yet more stable than going home. One student, 4 years ago, a young slight boy walked into my class, scared to death of everything and everyone, he could barely fit into the prison outfit he was so thin-- Sunday would be the last time I see this boy, as he became a "man" at midnight and transferred to County jail, where he will await his transfer to the maximum security prison in Boise. In Juvenile Detention the kids can only stay 364 days, then a "plan" for release needs to be in place, the system does not want kids to remain in institution for too long, become to accustomed to the regimine. These kids, boys and girls come in and out with a regular beat, I've known this boy for a long time, he never spoke until Sunday. He rolled mats at the end of class, he said, "I'm leaving tonight, thank you for being my teacher." and walked off. One of the guards said to me as I was leaving, casually do you know why he's here, why he's been here in and out so many times? I didn't know, I don't ask questions of the kids, I don't want to sensationalize their stories for the other kids, the younger kids who are there becuase they stole cigarettes or a candy bar. The guard went on to tell me that at 12 years old, that skinny pimply faced kid was shot up by his babysitter of 16 with heroine, and she raped him, and became impregnated by him-- He became a Dad at 12, and a heroine addict that day. The baby entered the foster system addicted to heroine at one hour old, cared for by strangers, he is now 6 and has never met his Dad. This boy fell "in love" with his babysitter and they coninued their relationship of stealing to support their habit and his running away to try and support her. Two years later they had another child together, the mother now 18 somehow kept her heroine addicted baby, and one day while the mother and this boy were out getting drugs, left the baby home alone ---all day--- and the frail infant died, the mother high on heroine slashed her wrists and died, and this boy was arrested repeatedly and brought to juvenile detention to serve a "sentence", and he sat in yoga, quiet, not speaking ever. Upon a release last year, he was placed in foster care, he fought with one of his foster brothers and killed him-- this quiet boy who has fathered two children before the age of 18, was not a deemed a murderer, he tired self defense, which is what it was, the foster brother was a sex offender and was forcing this boy to have oral sex with him, so this boy armed with a public defender, foster parents who really had no interest in him, and not a sole to stand up for him pled guilty to manslaughter and received 8 years upon his 18th birthday in maximum security prision. Upon completion of this story, I felt punched in the stomach, literally sick for this kid, who will not make it in prison, he is maybe 110 pounds, he was lost in the system his life lost in the system. This sweet soul never looked so small to me as he did walking back into the cell block, he is trying to get tougher before going to Boise, he had been in 3 fights that week; he recieved more time for these fights-- But really how much can one soul take, at what point does a person snap, this kid, broken and lost has no one to help him-- no one to write to on the outside, no one to visit him, he is forever lost in the system. It was a very sad day, and I was up until midnight, chanting sending him positive energy, holding him in my heart because his soul was lost at 12 years old---