[Editor’s Note: Marsha Graham is one of my favorite Supporter Contributors, and a very dear friend. Without her help, I never would have gotten started learning ASL, and she’s been a cornerstone of aid and comfort to DeafInPrison.com, since we launched. This piece was originally a comment she wrote to the post Juvenile Crimes – Our Main Pain, by Supporter Contributor Paul Smith. Upon reading it, I decided to post it here. — BitcoDavid]
By Marsha Graham
Granted, much of my work has been in areas of the country where agrarian society was dominant, but I’ve also lived in cities. What I have seen, however, is that as children are now luxuries rather than necessities, that our treatment of them is different.
However, more than that, I see that we no longer have coming of age rituals. We no longer transition children to juveniles to adults in any sort of orderly fashion. We don’t give them things that say, I’m almost an adult or I AM an adult.
It takes a village to raise a child is a truism. And as our extended families of small towns (villages) crumbles to dust our children fall apart as well.
I saw desperate welfare mothers beg and borrow to get their children to Anchorage to separate them from the Crips or Bloods and all it did was to transplant a gang culture. Those kids were not a part of the Alaskan community and were more alienated than they were in L.A.
I cannot blame families per se – the definition of family has changed so much over time. I would say that we are in a time of terrible transition – sort of a new “dark ages.” When you don’t have an extended community to provide for children then children get lost.
Yes, there are drugs, but drugs were not regulated in the 1800′s so much – you could go to an opium den. What we had was a different community structure – and a 14-16 year old boy could go work on a neighboring ranch or farm or learn to shoe horses or study to become a blacksmith or… or. Now we regiment children to fit little round holes in little round-holed pegboards.
And the other thing I saw in the mid-70′s was the rise of truly serious crime becoming more widespread among youth (boys, mostly, at that time) – arson, murder, rape, etc. We were putting highly dangerous kids in with status offenders and that was the death knell for status offenses (now CINA – Children In Need of Aid).
So far (knock on wood) my grand-kids are all good kids, good students, good friends to their friends. They have involved parents and extended family. We reward what is positive. Not all children are so fortunate to live without fear of violence, without drug or alcohol use in the home, without food deprivation due to lack of resources. So many children come from backgrounds of neglect, poverty, misery, etc. that we are creating an environment where kids act out.
Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to DeafInPrison.com and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney. “
- Juvenile Crimes – Our Main Pain! (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Exclusive: Inside the Once Controversial, Life-Changing Fetal Surgery Used to Treat Spina Bifida (theblaze.com)
- Call to Eliminate “20-Day” Rule for Runaways and Others (indianajuvenilejustice.com)
- Father, Aunt of CT School Shooter Speak Out: ‘We Are in a State of Disbelief’ (theblaze.com)
- Juvenile justice trends remain the same (mysouthwestga.com)
- Juvenile Delinquency: Ways of Solution (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Miranda, Hearing Juveniles and Deaf Juvenile Offenders (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Juveniles in Prison (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- And in the “Who is Rescuing Whom” Department… (deafinprison.wordpress.com)