Different Homes

by Michael Mackey

Yes, I’ve been in many group homes and foster homes. I’m surprised I’m not the poster child for the foster system. I was rst placed in the foster system when I was seven years old. My twin sister, Michelle, and two younger brothers, Johnnie and John Earl were also with me.

My uncles and aunties made the decision to place us in the foster system. I’m not sure if our granny was a part of that, but I think she knew.

The only person who asked if we wanted or needed anything was the case worker who was assigned to us, and a few staff members as well. I didn’t think it was fair being placed in the system because at a young age, I thought it was our family’s responsibility to work things out and to help one another.

What was it like to be separated from our family and all that we knew? It was life changing, gruesome, hurtful. I felt purely retaliatory toward the whole world and the cards I was dealt. What I missed the most was being a whole family, feeling complete, being with my parents through good times and bad ones, family support.

What was going on in our family was struggle and jealousy. My parents weren’t the wealthiest parents, but they did make ends meet. My father, Michael, took a chance in selling drugs to get extra money for the holidays and to “get caught up”. Our mother struggled to take care of us; our family didn’t help her or us all like that. We weren’t their responsibility was how they gured it. Drugs played a factor in that situation as well. So, they agreed to call CPS on our mother, thinking that was best for us all. (They were so-so wrong.)

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Crying to the Limit

by Bre’Ann

I’m an emotional wreck. Crying is my only good coping skill, not having a mother to cry on or a father I can run to. My sister is gone with the wind. My brother is gone with my freedom. As I stare at my public place of punishment, punishment is my only hope for freedom. Being a highly sophisticated, intelligent, emotionally mature, lonely, and ripped up failure. I see what I have become and it’s not exactly helping my emotions.

My mother went to a better place when I was 12 and I got separated from my lovely twin, Paradise.

My name stares at me as I write this paper but the only thing I see is the words failure, and as I stare back at the name Bre’Ann I feel the salty sting of tears come.

Do The Time, Don’t Let The Time Do You

by Son Nguyen

Our perceptions tend to change as we get older. When I rst got locked up in county jail, everyone pretty much knew I was going to be behind bars for a while because of the crime I committed.

Those who had more experience with being in the system advised me to “Do the time, don’t let the time do you.” I took this to mean Man Up and not let the system break me no matter what happens.

So when I came to prison with a life sentence I went along with what I was taught. Follow the prison code. Don’t associate with other races, act tough, stop caring, and show no fear.

That kind of teaching and mentality is used to separate people. It breeds mistrust and hatred.

It wasn’t until 10 years later when I was in the hole that I realize I got it completely wrong. I wasn’t doing time at all but I was letting it do me. I fell for the lies that are continually passed down to new individuals that enter the system. I had let prison turn me into someone I’m not. I saw that I had become institutionalized.

I didn’t like the person I’ve become so I chose to walk away from all the negativities. It wasn’t an easy decision. At rst, I was worried about what others might think but I’m glad I stuck to it.

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