.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


The carceral state

This, too, is part of the carceral state. (Google it if you don't know what that is. That's what we here in these United States live in. If you don't think so, I think you can thank your white privilege for that.)

I recommend reading the whole thing. But I'll pull out some salient points below.

The short story here is that this teenager had had previous interactions with the criminal justice system for stealing a fellow student's cell phone (which she subsequently returned and expressed remorse for taking--the other student's parent wanted to press theft charges) and having fights with her mom (which had escalated to the physical).

Then, she violated the terms of her parole for not doing online schoolwork in April 2020. (Remember April 2020? When there were lots and lots of cases of Covid-19 in Detroit? Also, in many other places? I honestly barely remember April, other than calling Hatzalah, benching gomel online, and observing Pesach.) She has ADHD and a mood disorder (for which she has an IEP in school, but did not when school moved to online-only) and 
said she felt unmotivated and overwhelmed when online learning began April 15, about a month after schools closed. Without much live instruction or structure, she got easily distracted and had difficulty keeping herself on track.
So, she went to juvenile detention ( = jail for kids).

Jail, you say? Isn't jail or any congregate setting a terrible idea during a pandemic?

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order in March that temporarily suspended the confinement of juveniles who violate probation unless directed by a court order and encouraged eliminating any form of detention or residential placement unless a young person posed a "substantial and immediate safety risk to others."

So, what threat did she pose?
In her ruling, [Judge Mary Ellen Brennan, the presiding judge of the Oakland County Family Court Division] found Grace 'guilty on failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school' and called Grace a "threat to (the) community," citing the assault and theft charges that led to her probation. 
"She hasn’t fulfilled the expectation with regard to school performance," Brennan said as she sentenced Grace.

Wait, was she really not doing schoolwork at all? And for how long? Was she doing much less work than her classmates who were likely also overwhelmed and finding the "new normal" difficult?
Grace’s teacher, Katherine Tarpeh, responded in an email to [Grace's court-appointed caseworker] that the teenager was "not out of alignment with most of my other students."
In fact, the whole thing was "based on a comment her mother made to her teacher, which Charisse testified she said in a moment of frustration and was untrue."

Was this an ongoing problem? One lasting months? No.
Grace and her mother testified that she was handling her schoolwork more responsibly — and that she had permission to turn in her assignments at her own pace, as long as she finished by the end of the semester. And, Charisse said, Grace was behaving and not causing her any physical harm.
Do white children go to jail in Michigan for stealing a fellow student's cell phone or fighting with their parents, followed by falling behind on their schoolwork? No, not really. Kids of color "are more likely to be arrested, less likely to be offered any kind of diversion, more likely to be removed out of the home and placed in some sort of confinement situation."

Racism is integrally bound up in the carceral state.

I recommend reading at least until you get to the letter that Grace sent her mother from juvenile detention. Prepare some tissues. It's devastating.
Done with this and have emotional energy to educate yourself some more? You can read this, about face-down restraint at Illinois schools. Also part of our carceral state!

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?