Tripping Kids, Going to Jail By Shantelle Guinto .

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The hard part isn’t choosing, its living with the choices you made.  But what happens if a choice you make leads you to spending time in prison?On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, a 24-year old inmate, James, came to our school to tell his story about how he landed a spot in a jail. During these assemblies, the inmates typically talk about their early lives, and continue speaking on up until the point where the events lead up to them going to jail.This year was no different. James told us that when he was around 6 or 7, he wasn’t well-liked among his peers, and all he wanted to do was be cool. Since he wanted to be cool, he did something childish that would soon be the building block of some more serious crimes. He tripped a kid in an auditorium filled with students in third grade, and the worst part of all; he got away with it.James felt that, if he could get away with that, he could get away with so much more. By sixth grade, his life started to revolve less around school, and more around alcohol and drugs. He didn’t even care when he was arrested because he knew all the right cards to play with his mother that would get her to bail him out, but soon enough his actions weren’t something his mom could get him out of.

By the end of this assembly, I felt sympathy towards the inmate. He’s only a human being who made mistakes that he regrets. I think that is something we can all relate to. Some might question whether or not I should be sympathetic towards James because he might have come off as highly inappropriate.

His story is quite similar to other inmates that have come in previous years, but the difference is James made serious topics such as, addiction, substance abuse, and being arrested sound like a huge joke, as opposed to the other inmates from previous years who seemed to have learned something.

However, I still think the assembly served a great purpose even though it may have not seemed like it. James obviously has some problems, not only in his bad habits, but with himself.

That’s what some people do when things get serious, they joke about it because they just don’t have it in them to face it. How do you look at a room full of teenagers, who still have have a whole bright future ahead of them, when you, yourself have ruined yours?

When James was asked what he’d do for a job once he’s released, he said things along the lines of being able to find a pretty decent job. What I think James needs is not jail, but a reality check.

From the way he spoke about his life, nothing really ever phased him. Going to jail, over and over again, is not what this guy needs because he just doesn’t seem to care. I spoke with a CCD teacher, Mrs. Boak about these types of situations and she mentioned that there are many soldiers who come back to their everyday lives that end up committing crimes. Something happened in them, while they were away, that developed things such as anger issues.

A judge realized this, and decided instead of imprisoning them, he asked them, “Do you want to be helped?” Those who said yes were put into a group of other people who have gone through the same thing. “…and it took some time, but gradually they managed to return to their daily lives through relating with…the other soldiers. I just thought it was very nice that a judge would do that, it’s what they needed,” Mrs. Boak said. In this case, jail was not doing anything for these people at all, as it doesn’t seem to do anything for James. When James was asked whether or not he would do drugs again, he said no, but he also said that if he did, he’d become addicted again.

I feel bad for James, and everyone like him because if he doesn’t face the real world and come out of the bubble he’s in where nothing else matters that little hope of him turning his life around will just cease to exist altogether. James needs to come to terms with himself, and what it is that gives him the need do all these things, so he can finally move past them, otherwise, he’s just going to relapse and live a life without much purpose in it much like he was doing before.

To think, the downfall of his life began with a simple act of tripping a kid in 3rd grade.

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