Archive for May 18th, 2011

18
May
11

“offender”?

I woke up this morning in a foul mood. The words of Gretl Plessinger, a Florida Department of Corrections spokesperson, were running through my head: “We did a violation of probation and it will be up to the courts now to decide what happens to Offender King.”

“Offender” King?!

I have been offended by the actions of the Florida Department of Probation (a division of FDOC) ever since February when I spoke to Melissa Cornelius, Alex’s probation officer, who informed me that her supervisor directed that the question of whether Alex had actually violated the terms of his probation would be deferred to the courts rather than her department more rightly and responsibly exercising judgment about whether Alex had actually done anything wrong—or at least something wrong enough to justify what has already resulted in three months of cruel incarceration and derailed his education.

Yesterday Alex told me he is fighting depression and is not getting adequate help from his captors. This is par for the course. In my opinion, the State of Florida has compounded Alex’s misery from the day he was taken into custody as a 12-year-old by callously and continuously inflicting trauma on him which has had—and will continue to have—lifelong effects on his wellbeing.

Alex fled the scene of a fender-bender because in the moments following the accident he did not have the capacity to think about it as any normal person might have. Flight was an involuntary response resulting from nine years of inhumane treatment by the state through Alex’s most formative years. I have visited both of the facilities in Okeechobee where Alex was held, and I know firsthand what awful places they are. I cannot blame Alex for wanting to escape, and I am horrified that the state continues to inflict harm on Alex now, more than six years later, for having spent a night in a classroom rather than in his cell. Florida justice lacks any sense of proportion, understanding, or compassion.

In fleeing, Alex mindlessly did what he was conditioned to do—but of course, the state holds itself blameless for its role in this situation and is proving itself eager to exploit circumstances to continue Alex’s victimization which began, mind you, when a 40-year-old pedophile conceived the murder of Alex’s father and manipulated two troubled and confused boys into commission of the act.

This offensive and perpetual cycle of state-sponsored abuse must be brought to an end. Alex must be allowed to get on with his life and to salvage from it what happiness he can.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Nine Inch Nails performing “Hurt”