Can I get a Witness?
(Traumatization of Children by Prisons in America)
A MUST READ!
The living breathing James Brown
US Army Veteran
Handgun Safety and A Panther’s Father Book Series
Can I get a witness?
Traumatization of Children by American Prisons
After retiring and working at Five different Texas Prisons, I am now going to talk to you about the most heartbreaking thing that I ever witnessed as a Prison Correctional Officer. I am going to be talking about images on some faces of little children that equated to similarly distressful images on the faces of Holocaust Children during WWII. I admit, I was humanly hurt by what I saw. And when I tell you the little girl tale, maybe she was me and I was her.
Yes, can I get a witness? Will you be my Witness? R u already a Witness? This is gonna be a deep, very deep subject for you to read about and it may hurt you. But will you be My Witness? And I do mean it in the most earnest manner of request. The subject I am about to talk to you about is one of the most devastating, if not the very most devastating, thing I have ever witnessed from 1978-2019 while working at Prisons. Where?
Comrades, Friends, Mi Amigos, could be Border Wall Holding Facilities, County Jails, City Jails, but this is definitely Prison talk, the real hurt talk. And I hope you will feel the pain I will always carry with me from what I saw and heard. Where? don’t much matter cause it is going on at all of them.
And I do not, and I cannot speak lightly about this wholehearted bombardment upon the minds of little children Such a bombardment of emotions of the foulest and most hurting, most detrimental, painful manner of things which, I believe, causes traumatization in the little kids, the young children all across the United States. Yes, I am going to talk it straight to you and if it hurts, then so be it. You may take a big hit on your chin by reading this, but far less than the huge hits the little ones are taking everywhere in America.
Incarceration is the most foul, evil form of torture upon the little minds of the ones that are not even incarcerated. No, the father, brother, sister, mother, grandparents and so on that are Locked-Up bring along with them something that most Americans never think about and if one reads this, it will soon be forgotten and tossed away cause we just don’t like reading the truth when it hurts us. Well, get ready to get hurt and maybe its time to do some ball breaking and make people most aware, very aware, and realistic total affects when we incarcerate a person.
Incarceration carries a heavy cost upon Society, and it reaches deeply into every sector of life. But the deepest it reaches is the most overlooked subject of all and that is the trauma that it causes young children-the little children. And it is a Slam-Dunk of Pain upon their little precious minds. Precious minds trying to come to terms with what they feel and what they witness every time that their come to visit the Prison where their most loved is being held. And seeing Razor Wire on top of hurricane fence where birds often times stop and perch upon are things that these children are seeing and then they see Correctional Officers and sometimes, they get to see their family in person with a single hug at the beginning of the Family Visit and one at the end of this Family Visit. And yes, a single kiss is allowed at the beginning of the Visit and a single kiss when they leave from the Visitation Room.
But how does a young child experience this very traumatic experience of suddenly seeing their Father or Mother behind bars? Well, let me write it as a sort of fictional and non-fictional story for just a minute and it’s about true things I saw, but it is how I witnessed these children coming and going from Prisons before, during, and after Visitations. SO, here goes-
My names is Jennie Lee and I am seven-year-old. I am in kindergarten and I am very happy because I have just learned to say my ABC’s. I am really happy and today, I will get to see my Mother for the 1st time since she was locked-up for something she did.
And then on Saturday morning before it was even light outside, my Uncle picked me up and carried me to the car where I soon fell asleep again. It was a good ride and I don’t remember much about it. But hey, it’s what us kids do. But today, I am super excited about getting to see my Mother and I am so happy. I cannot put how happy I am in Adult words for you to understand me.
We stopped at McDonald’s and I ate a sausage biscuit, but I wasn’t allowed to have any jelly on it because my Uncle said he didn’t want anything spilled on my clothes before I saw my mother. He also said that there were big bad, big mean dogs that chase people where my Mother was staying, and these dogs would get even us little kids if we don’t smell right. I guess he meant that they might chase me if I smelled like Jelly. Well, I drank a small cup of water that was Free because I don’t think my Uncle has much money and I was told I had to live with him, and my Aunt until my Mommy got out. They don’t have much money and I was told that we could make the two-hour one-way trip to visit my Mother once every three or four months. I think my Uncle is afraid of the place where my mother lives. And it is a very strange place for even me to figure.
When we arrived at the place where my Mother was, there was a long line of cars lined-up in a very, very long line. It seemed to take a very long time for us to get to the Parking Lot where we could park the car. But I was told that we just had to wait our turn and that the Visitation Room was jammed pack with Visitors ahead of us. I don’t know why that man in that Gray Uniform wearing a handgun on his hip told us that, but I guess that was his job.
Finally, we were allowed to go to a STOP Point where we had to be still and everyone got out of the car and the man in Gray looked all over our car and under the Engine Place and in the Back place where this door came open and the Gray Man stuck his head down into the back and looked all around. It was a peculiar sight to see this man doing this and then he took a funny mirror thing on a long stick and looked even under our car. And then he said we was okay. And I am not sure what that Okay meant. But then, we got back in the car and my Uncle found an empty parking spot. It was way back in the back and then we got out of the car.
And as we walked away from the car, I began to see something that I never knew ever existed. It was a huge long place and it seemed to reach up and touch the sky. And on two sides, I saw these Tall towers like a Big Castle has and there was a Man waving a long gun our way and I think he was happy to see us. But I am not sure why they had the long funny black guns, but they I saw looked pretty mean because I did not see happy faces on any of them.
The one who searched our car and the one who had told us about the long wait was not wearing a happy face either. They seemed like Robot Faces with no feeling in them at all. And as we walked closer and closer to this single gate, I saw three birds sitting on this wire that had these sharp long shining things on them. And then there were long circles of barbed wire and it ran forever and below that was the same type of tall fence that I saw at a Military Fort and I do not know why that is there. But I, well, my stomach started to not feel good suddenly. And then there was the meanest man I have ever seen looking down straight at us from the tall Tower in the middle. We were right down below him and he had a long black gun in his arms. I started to really be not feeling good then. The gun was a scary thing to see and I knew right then that it was not some form of Nerf Fun Gun. And I wondered if he had to shoot us or my Mother. I was really starting to feel bad all over my body now.
Then, the Gate Opened and we walked into this holding cage and when the gate behind us closed,
the gate in front of us then opened and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest as I became so very much afraid of that holding cage like I was some form of animal, a wild animal and they were going to set their dogs on me at any point, and I wondered if I had spilled any Jelly on my clothes if they that be would be when they set their dogs in on me. I was not feeling good. I started to quiver. I suddenly felt so very trapped and my panties were getting wet and I could not help it. I was so very much afraid.
Suddenly, I wanted to go home. Razor Wire was everywhere. I did not want to stay, and I was now be literally dragged into the Prison front door by both of my hands. My feet would not move. I felt my shoes being pulled on the concrete. I was hurting really bad inside and then My Uncle and Aunt opened the glass door and we walked in and then I saw two more of those people in Gray Clothes. But I immediately noticed that they were not wearing their handguns on their hips and I wondered why that was. But now, my stomach was starting to hurt really bad. worse than even before.
“Sir, empty your pockets into the tray and take off your shoes and then I will Pat Search you and use a Metal Detector to check you,” said the Man in Gray. And my eyes opened wide now. This man did not have a happy face on at all either. He was a Plastic Man who could speak. A very big, big man made of plastic and then the Woman in Gray, she was a Plastic Man too and she said the same thing that the Man in Gray had told my Uncle.
“Ma’am place all of your contents into the tray and take off your shoes and then I will Pat Search you and then Wand you with this Metal Detector and then I will Wand the girl too,” said the female Correctional Officer.
Then as she said, “Wand you”, I saw the strangest Paddle I had ever seen before and I did not want to get Paddled.
I only wanted to see my Mother. Do I have to get Paddled just to see my Mother? Then as the Plastic Woman in Gray tried to come close to me with that Paddle, I moved away until my back was up against the Wall. I was now hurting bad. And I began to cry. I did not want to be Paddled.
My Aunt picked me up and I still cried, and I told her I wanted to go home. Yes, back home and not get Paddled. And then I let out a yell when the Plastic Lady came close to me with the Paddle.
“Just hold her there and I will Wand the both of you,” said the CO.
And then I slowly stopped crying as I became a little happy when I did not get Paddled. And then, we were escorted into a Room where they seated us at a small table. This huge room was filled with maybe a hundred men and women and children and as I looked around, I saw some children were smiling, but most were not happy. All the kids had plastic faces on. There was not a great amount of emotion in the room as the talking was low and almost a whispering. And that whispering made me wonder if we only could whisper like we were hiding some form of secrets. Yes, secrets told. Secrets only told by whispering. But what were all of these secrets being passed from one table to the people at that table?
The confusing of this is unbelievable and then my Mother came in and I jumped-up and my Uncle and Aunt grabbed me and held me down like I had done something terrible. But I watched my Mother who had a smile on her face walk right up to our table and she hugged me and gave me a kiss and then I was put in a chair next to her.
And then I listened as my Uncle and My Aunt and my Mother talked. But they were talking about strange things and I saw them tear-up from time to time and my Mother even had to stop from talking to wipe away tears from her eyes and then I burst into tears when I saw my Mother crying. And I was now hurting worse than ever before.
The pain was horrible, and I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, but none of the kids were doing that. Yes, I wondered how many other kids in the room wanted to scream as much as I did? And did they hurt as much as I did? Were their stomachs now aching like never before? I mean, I was ready to run away from all of it. And no matter what I saw, it was a wrong thing to be. A wrong place to be.
A scary place, yes what is behind that mysterious hole where my Daddy is and what do they do? and I felt the most of it all and this is only my 1st visit seeing my Mother, but where was she? Will every Visit be this scary? Why can’t my Mother come back home when we leave? My mind is racing with kid thoughts that cannot put two and two together in a complete understanding of the situation. And, and , and , I want to RUN AWAY!
Well, did I give you just the tiniest of a picture of a child and their little minds trying to comprehend the situation of their family being in a Prison? Prison is the most trauma causing event in a child’s life. And the entire part of incarceration is intended to remove a person found guilty of a crime and put in a Prison away from Society. But, it digs way too deeply into the family causing total and sometimes complete dysfunction. It is gosh darn scariness of the Highest Order and then you toss in some Prison Movies that the kids have been allowed to see cause kids see everything, and these images are ONLY MAGNIFIED by movie impressions. And a child cannot rationalize what is going on and what the Prison is. IT is everything scary that people will allow their minds to believe it to be.
And right now, STOP, and write down what you think Prison Life is. Sure, go ahead and do it. Just write only three negative things that you think a Prison is like. You know, what you have heard and then toss in the Movies that your mind has digested and then—–
Allow you own mind to drift back to when you were a child and then become that 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 Year Old Child and tell yourself how you are going to see Prison from that age point of view. Take a moment. Please. Yes, please take a moment and then after this mind thought, I will tell you some things that I have seen, been told, and even asked by seeing kids of all ages at one of Five Texas Prisons where I worked and Lord, I totally hated and loved VISITATION.
I loved Visitation by how it helped sooth the emotions of many, many, and many Offenders. But the river of Tears I saw could shower several people for weeks. And I was genuinely pleased and happy with the families that braved the all of it that they could to come and see their family member locked-up.
Yes, I never hated a single Offender in my entire Career.
I never took that Hate road and I would not allow myself to ever go there. Offenders, for the very most part, treated me right and I treated them right. But now, let’s do go into Visitation and why I hated it.
I HATED VISITATION because of the actual Traumatization that I witnessed it had upon the kids. Yes, you could see it squarely planted in their faces. Faces of emptiness and hollowness. Yes, the little kids were being traumatized and most Americans don’t ever take much time to see that side of the Incarceration Picture. But today, I wanted to share this with you because it is going on in every Prison, Jail, Border Holding Facility, all over in America. And now, let me go deeper into this aspect.
When I worked Visitation, I worked at three places most. I stripped search Offenders coming to and leaving from Visitation for contraband. I worked the front Area searching the Visitors. And yes, I had many at length discussions with the Visitors. They always wanted to know the same similar things like how their family member was being treated. And I told them. And I worked in Closed Custody where the Offender had done such infractions that caused him to NOT BE ALLOWED A REGULAR VISIT and one instead behind a Plexi-glass Window.
Now, how do you think these kids are dealing with their Mom or Dad talking to them from behind a Plexi-glass window where there are No Hugs, No Kiss to the kids? Yes, they see, but they still don’t understand the whole of it and it beats them down hard. And what I saw was such sadness. I mean such immense sadness and sorrow much farther reaching into the trauma’s deep well than that which was caused by the Regular Visitation. And the looks were so deep and of such incredible sadness on their small precious faces. And the tears flowed like tiny lines of water never stopping and their little paws constantly wiping their faces over and over again. Did it hurt them. Yes, far beyond any words that I could ever tell you.
Remember, I told you to see yourself as that small child you once were. The Razor Wire at the Top of the High Fences, the Gun Towers, and the Non-Life Images on the Faces of one Guard after another. A facial expression that goes into the far distant stare of emptiness. Empty, but not empty of heart cause I saw hurt and when I saw it, I hurt.
I admit, I cried and sometimes, I even had to excuse myself to a Restroom just to get myself back together at times. I mean on a few occasions, I cried. I mean these kids crying and screaming and holding on to their Father and their Fathers tearing their little arms, their little grips off of them and their clothes was electrifying real images that you cannot simply ever forget as they were forced to leave the Visitation. These images will and do stick with you for the rest of your lives. Painful scenes of pure child trauma. Pure Child Trauma. Seeing Children ripped from the arms of their parent. WTF? IT is a life crusher.
And when I was up front where we shook down the Visitors, little children would sometimes take the time to ask you to take care of their father.
Yes, one little girl waved me down to her little face level and when I leaned down to her shortness of size, she then put her hands on the cheeks of my face and she said-You promise you will not let my father get hurt? You will? You will?
And man, that was a hurtful moment. And of course, I leaned down on one knee and gave the little girl a hug and told her that I would make sure that nothing ever happened to her father. And I meant it. I would do all that I could humanly do to keep her father safe and all the other Offenders. A promise made is a promise kept. And I kept mine.
And as I walked in the Parking lot as it was filled with Visitors leaving the Unit, I saw every expression that you could imagine. There were Adult Hateful Looks, Non-Looks, and Respectful Looks, and then the looks on the faces of kids. I studied these looks as the kids walked by me and I saw mostly tears, but sometimes I saw older children happy with a new picture of her or his parent in her hand that was taken that day during Visitation. On some days, they do take Pictures of the Offender alone or with family members so the family can take them home with them.
And sure, I heard-I Hate You-on more than one occasion. But you let that stuff go. It’s the Prison that they hate and their child being locked-up. And it wasn’t the me at all. It was the Uniform and what they thought it meant to the person saying that. Prison doesn’t mean the same thing to all people. But Lord, I hope I have opened your eyes to the Horror Side of Prison Life that to me is the absolutely the worst one-Traumatizing the Children.
Yes, for me, Prisons in America Traumatize Little Children.
These little precious kids are trying to desperately figure out what all the sights and sounds of the Prison that they see and hear mean or should mean to them from the Point of View of a Child’s Mind. And so many things are not understood and not realized until it is TOO LATE, and the Damage has been done and another generation is locked into a Circle of future Incarceration. And did you see them? Did you see yourself in their shoes? And if so, how was that walk for you? Following little feet and their precious footsteps?
My name is James Brown, and I use “the living breathing James Brown” as a pen name to keep me separated from all the other James Browns in America. I wrote Handgun Safety in 1996 and my most recent writing projects have been A Panther’s Father Book Series. I cherish the time that God keeps allowing me here on Earth and write what I hope God wants me to talk about. I died once in the hospital, so I know I am on borrowed time, so to speak. And I know I have to always remember that I have a tremendous responsibility of writing the truth because people from 87 different Countries come to READ what I do Post. And with over 19,000 followers, it is sometimes a wonder and sometimes a curse. Folks can Troll Talk you down to the point where you might not ever wanna Post nothing no more.
And sometimes, I feel like I did a good job of conveying a thought over to the READER and sometimes I find out I did a poor job. But hey, today, I was swimming in the Old Folks Wellness/Fitness Center and then the face of this small, beautiful precious little girl came to me just like she was in front of me grabbing my cheeks once again and asking me what I wrote earlier and that stuff keeps with you, man. And then I knew I needed to talk about the things I came to believe to be true about being a Correctional Officer and today, I wrote how Prisons do actually take a hold on little minds and it hurts these little kids to the point of such deep dejection and sorrow to the point of where Incarceration Traumatizes Children.
I hope you will take the time to help a child with their issues on their Mom or Dad being locked-up and watch how it is affecting them. See the “what” that they are facing and help them understand things. Give them the same chance that you had but make it better than what you did have.
Thanks, and God Bless.