Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ignorance is bliss... I was watching the news recently when I heard a story about a man who pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the murdering someone a few years ago. What made it seem familiar was that I knew the man...I had worked with him as a teen many times over and over in my job in my former life (before resigning to have more children.) Everyone I worked with was on juvenile parole and since there are so many people being charged and sentenced, my vaguesness helps protect his identity. This particular teen was one of the first ones I worked with and I got to know his entire family as well. Long after he outgrew the parole supervision, and then moved on to adult probation for more offences, I still saw his mom here or there and spoke with her. He never changed and still had the same types of behavior that got him locked up and paroled in the first place. About three or four years ago, he and his family moved into a housing project close by my house and he was walking by my house on my road. He recognized me (playing with my kid in the front yard) and stopped to talk. We spoke for about 15 minutes. While I was friendly and jumped into my former probation officer role while talking, I couldn't help thinking...OMG, he knows where I live! He was one of those kids who smoked weed way too much, hung out with the wrong crowd, didn't do well in school...those kind you know won't make it and didn't have the consistency from home or the resources to keep him in line. And you can't do anything about it because there were others just like them going down the same road to failure and I had to do as much as I could in as little time as possible.

It's interesting to watch the local news as I listen for names and many, many times, I recognize someone I used to work with. I have lost count of the ones I've worked with at one time who were sent to prison for life or for the majority of their lives. Even a couple on death row. It's not that I or my agency didn't do a good job, per se, but most of the time, by the time I started working with them, the damage had already been done.

While I really miss what I used to do and that career, I don't miss knowing those criminals and their crimes. I have since been able to drive down a road and not know this newer generation of kids and their crimes/families/background. I don't want to know, actually. I prefer to be ignorant. I know too many people who've done terrible things and too much about what goes on behind closed doors, so to speak.

But, I do stay in the back yard now, not in the front, just in case.


Floortime Lite Mama said...

OMG I had No idea you were a parole officer
How fascinating
I can see that the job would have a heartbreaking side as well

ok said...

It's sad that many of the children we have worked with will still follow that road that led them to us in the first place. And it's the ones you hear about that are usually the ones that did continue on that path. But be encouraged as well that there are many you don't hear about that we may have had a positive influence on who chose NOT to continue down that road! (But I think it's a good idea in your situation to play in the back yard!)

Nancy said...

YIKES! That had to freak you out that he knew where you lived. Stay safe!!!!