‘My life doesn’t matter so long as they can get paid off my misery’

By Vincent P.

I was locked up for six months for being $900 in arrears in child support. The thing was, my kids were living with me. I was supporting them. But the state (or the county) wants their money. How and why am I paying child support for children that are in my house? Who am I paying it to? It’s going directly to the state. What does that have to do with my children?

So they left my younger daughters to go with their mother, who was not supposed to have unsupervised visits. My older daughter and son were left to be homeless on the streets while in school while I did my time. Well, I really think the jail term did more harm to my family than good. Two 17 year olds with no parents at all. They were left on their own.

When I was in court before getting locked up, a chaplain Holloway from the Durham Rescue Mission came and said I could have a job so I’d be able to make my payments, and the judge told him to move along, that he wasn’t supposed to be there. What is that all about?

The judge said, ‘How are the kids going to eat?’ I tried to explain they had been with me, that they were eating. And he told me, “You’re in custody, don’t speak.” I didn’t even have a lawyer on my side, it was just people from the prosecutors’ office and the judge against me.

For the arrears, it was from when my 10 year olds were in foster care. But I was paying money during that time, so I don’t know where the arrears even come from.

My 10 year olds have been with me since they were three. But before that they were in foster care while custody was getting worked out.

Now, the 10 year olds are separated from their family. Emotionally scarred pretty much. They are in foster care now again because I don’t have a place for them to stay, and custody is in question. During the time I was incarcerated, the children were allowed to stay with a mother who was not deemed to be fit for unsupervised visits. DSS and the sheriff’s office allowed this to happen. So they ended up with their mother, and all kinds of bad things happened while they were with her.

Now, I need a job that’s not going to land me in prison. This situation is driving me to think about desperate means to support myself and my kids.
I am not a criminal!
I am a loving father who needs help. Nothing feels worse than not being able to protect your family.
I think that’s what the system is designed to do. If you cut the head off of the family you leave the family vulnerable. So the kids don’t have a father figure.
When a person is in this situation, they fall into places that sell drugs CALLED TRAPS. Trapping you into getting fast money, and then you’re back in jail, and now you have an OPUS number and a sentence.
This number is intended for you and your whole family and the next Generations to come.
What do people do after they get out? What’s the cost of ‘paying the debt to society?’ Is the cost not being able to do things that are self-sustaining? They have money invested in the jail. But what money do they have invested in aftercare for PEOPLE?
You start over. Over and over again. You make no progress. There’s a waiting list for services, but shouldn’t they start you on that before you get out? So you can have a smooth transition when you get out of jail?

I suffer from depression and anxiety. It was funny when I was inside they had these people come around and do a survey (December 2015, see this post). I was telling him about the medicine I am supposed to get, and that they were trying to give me something for high blood pressure. I don’t have high blood pressure, I have anxiety. And this guy who was giving me the survey, because I wanted to do it, he said I shouldn’t worry about that, it’s ‘doctor stuff.’ So why are you asking me then? That survey was a joke.

The medical department will give you medication but they won’t give you any documentation about side effects. Isn’t that illegal?
Why keep offering me medication that makes me sick?
That’s why I wrote what I wrote about medical stuff. They weren’t gonna do me like they did Matthew McCain.

When I was in there, I saw people paraded in front of us with a turtle suit on barefoot and afraid. The suicide suit. I mean, if you’re feeling suicidal, how you gonna intimidate people into not feeling suicidal? I don’t think there’s anything natural about being locked in a room no other animal on Earth does anything like that to their own kind. They take away your bedding, they put the suicide smock on you. If you refuse to put the suicide smock on you,  you are threatened to be tased. I was threatened, so I know . You have to agree to suck it up and be dehumanized otherwise you’re gonna sleep on that hard, hard floor and continue to be demeaned and mind you they still have the air pumping and you have no blanket, never mind no dignity. Miss Kelly (mental health counselor) did come and make them give me one and I thank her for that.. It’s the most dehumanizing place on the planet, right here in America. I still have nightmares about that place.

I want to tell my whole story before they lock me back up or I decide I can’t be a prisoner for the rest of my life. I have minimum mental health help. After that six month sentence and dealing with the system since then I am now convinced my life doesn’t matter to them just so long as they can get paid off my misery.

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