Friday, February 03, 2006

Discrimination comes in many forms.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter because I am angry. I am angry at a system that does not work. I am angry at a system that has lost all humanity. I am angry that I have been denied my sons child-hood, and now I am again being denied my right and responsibility as a parent.

In the eighties during a time when Welfare reform was a huge topic I was on Welfare. I was attempting to get out of a very hostile marriage to a Fire Man. We had put together a mutually agreeable custody plan and submitted it to the court commissioner. He refused to approve a plan we had actually agreed on. His grounds were that someone was going to have to pay child support. He awarded temporary custody of the boys to “the parent with the job.” . This started an eleven year battle in the courts of Washington. We never stood before a judge despite many costly days sitting at the court house awaiting hearings that had been scheduled three months in advance. Three out of the six times witnesses had been flown in from other states and professional psychologists had been paid and subpoenaed to attend a trial that never came forth.
The situation now is complicated but suffices to say I am willing to third party my son who is a felon in
Washington State to for an offense against his step-siblings. He served his full sentence, at his request, so he could stay in treatment and finish High School. Having no stable support system he was released at 17 and expected to maintain an apartment and a job, with little to no help in learning how to fill out job application, obtain a drivers license, or even pay his bills. I am teaching him all this via very expensive phone conversations. Seems to me the system and his father, have once again set him up to fail. His parole officer is Washington has put in for him to transfer to Alaska where he will have a support system that is quite extensive.

I am a custodial parent residing in Alaska. The state I call home is denying me my rights as well as my responsibilities to my son. I have spent many Saturdays on the phone with his counselor from the Youth Center he was detained at. I have studied the criteria they taught him to help him identify with his victim, accept responsibility for his actions as well as techniques that will help him prevent future actions of the sort. A “Law” in our state, states that “a sex-offender may only reside in a home with children IF the children are biologically related to the offender.” I am told that this means a person who commits a sex offense against a minor may only live in a home with their own children. Not siblings, nieces, nephews or the. So as I see it, a person who has committed a sex crime and is returned to their own children with the parental authority over the children is more of a risk for a repeat offense than a person who was 14 when the offense occurred then returned to a home with parental supervision. Siblings or no sibling.

I feel my son is being discriminated against because of an uprising in sex offenders and the laws being questioned in our state at this time. A quote form the Parole officer that was assigned to help make the decision of whether Alaska would accept the transfer…”Once a sex offender always a sex offender.” I have not heard back from the man since the phone conversation that prompted this statement.

I feel I am being discriminated against due to my choice of staying home and raising my children. A choice I made despite the pay cut from Registered Nursing. A choice I will defend. I have been treated as if I have no common sense. As if I did not spend 5 years of my life learning the anatomy, physiology and the psyche of the human being. I feel the parole officer here in Alaska and the judges in Washington made assumptions about me and therefore past judgments that have continually effected out lives in negative ways.

All I want is the chance to be a mother to my son. The chance to help him salvage his life. Seems in a society where so many don’t care I would be given kudos for taking the responsibility of my child. Instead I am being punished and so is a child who just spent his entire childhood in a home where he was a product of the system that was suppose to help him. The best thing the system did for him was arrest him. This removed him from a home where he was not wanted and put him in a place where he was taught self-esteem and compassion. A place that he felt safe for the first time in his life was behind bars. So much for protecting the innocent. The Laws have been against him from the age of 2.


A mother who loves her children

Shana Baxter

Comments on ""


post a comment