Teen in Jail

Several newspapers in Florida recently printed articles about a young man currently serving time in Florida's correctional system. "Ted" sends letters to his mom on the outside, and she posts the information to his blog: Teen in Jail.

I hope the inmate writer is sincere as he discusses the dangers of drugs and gang life--as opposed to a clever tactic by his lawyer and relatives to persuade the parole board.

In contrast to my guess about many of his fellow inmates, the author appears to come from a supportive family who provided for him well beyond his means. He talks of being given a nice car and traveling domestically and internationally in his youth.

Quite a shame when considering that he squandered all of his gifts while Michael Oher, who grew up without parents sleeping on floors any place that he could find, went to college and now plays in the National Football League.

In any event, Teen in Jail provides some insights into his encounters with police officers:

I can’t count how many times I’ve run from the cops.

I’ve been in two chases in a car (both times I got away) and too many chases to count on foot.

A lot of times when I run from the cops, they always try to sneak up on me while I’m at my house. I always can tell if they’re about to try something when there’s a police cruiser parked on each end of my block.

Whenever I think they’re coming for me, I take off from my backyard and run across the street to the school that’s right next to my house. When I get there, I jump on the shed and from there I jump on the roof. Once I’m on the roof, the only way to keep up with me is in a helicopter and even though I haven’t tried, I’d be willing to bet I could still get away.

After awhile, the cops caught on to me and started parking at the school too. One time they did that, they caught me off guard, so I had to run through a church with nothing but open space around instead. It was just my luck that the cop that was parked at the school probably ran track professionally – he tackled me in seconds.
He also writes about being worried that "the Clearwater Police will be watching me every minute after I get out of jail."

Interesting tales, but I think he overestimates how much free time police have.

I am confident in saying that if police from that agency never set foot over at Teen in Jail's house again, they will be just peachy. It is the squeaky wheel concept--places or persons that generate calls get more attention. If "Ted's" family and neighbors do not call the police and he avoids behaving as a law breaker, I doubt he will see many patrol units in his driveway.

One additional comment on something Ted stated. In this post, he talks about how dirty condition of his cell.

Well "Ted", here is a fantastic way to not only show the parole board that you are becoming responsible, as well as improve your living conditions: grab some toilet paper and start scrubbing away my friend. With all of the free time that you describe, that tiny cell will be sparkling fresh in no time.

Best wishes to "Ted" and his future.


Natalie said...

Well, he's not at scout camp and definitely not at the Ritz, but I guess when he's been given all he wants and more in life, I can see how his cell would be unsettling. Maybe it'll help him NOT WANT TO GO BACK! Sounds like everything else is just a game to him. Sad.

Bob said...

What was all this running this guy felt he had to do... there's more of the story here...

I hate to say it, but committing "a crime" is in the US is not altogether unusual... just count the people exceeding the speed limit on the roads, the person talking on a cell-phone while pumping gas - the WARNING is clear - it's unlawful.

Too bad, prior to all this running and dodging, he simply took up a life job that would deliver a sense of belonging and accomplishment, then after hours to unwind, use a little marijuana. He'd have the best of both worlds then... he'd be a participating member of society and could be a criminal in the privacy of his own home, rather than what he says - running a muck causing chaos.

NOTE: Just in case "Teen in Jail" was busted for having a joint, and was being continually harassed, I take it all back... obviously the state has budgets it needs to cut back on... Slams idea of using your spare time to clean your cell is an idea, but I'd write letters to my congressmen instead - they wont hear you, but getting involved in politics is good for the soul, even if it isn't good for the mind.

Whatever you do, on the run all the time... I sympathize, but can't say I'm interested in your story. Too many stories out there. Simply put, many Americans break the law everyday... but most don't make trouble. Please, if you're paroled... mellow out.

Interesting post, as usual, Slam... informative.

angelcel said...

"A lot of times when I run from the cops, they always try to sneak up on me .... I always can tell if they’re about to try something." Is it a Freudian slip that this is written in the present tense, (as though the memories of avoiding capture are still relevant in his mind), yet when he talks about being caught it's correctly in the past tense? Either way, call me bitter and twisted if you like but I just don't believe he's a reformed character. He's got some brains mind you - this is a clever and new tactic to influence the parole board and could even secure him a film deal. I'm also with you - if his cell is dirty, a little elbow grease wouldn't go amiss. (Oh dear...reading what I've just written, I've clearly woken up with my Atila the Hun head on today).

Slamdunk said...

AC: Nice catch.

Bob: His charge was not relevant for my comments, but I believe his current sentence is for dealing ecstasy.

Bob said...

Angelcel said: (Oh dear...reading what I've just written, I've clearly woken up with my Atila the Hun head on today).

Ditto, considering my previous comment that Slam referenced. As follows is my comment with my head centered on my shoulders...

Slam commented: "...dealing ecstasy". All the more reason for revising my previous comment. I have to ask why a teen is in jail, ala tax-payers, for selling ecstasy? And why does that make him special? It doesn't.

My revised comment:

What was all this running this guy felt he had to do? There's more to this story, and I may read more of what "Teen..." says on his blog. But I doubt it...

I hate to say it, but committing "a crime" is in the US is not altogether that unusual... just count the people exceeding the speed limit on the roads; people talking on a cell-phone while pumping gas; politicians paying for prostitutes; politicians cheating on their wifes; Pnonzi schemes, etc...

Why all this running and dodging the law? Why couldn't/can't he simply find a humble, decent job; then after hours, to unwind, instead of comitting crimes that taunt the police, maybe use a little marijuana instead, in the privacy of his own home... then, he'd have the best of both worlds... he'd be a participating member of society and could be a criminal in private bothering no one after hours, rather than what this post suggests... a teen running a muck causing chaos in our already stressed economy. A teen hoping to get out and do what? Probably won't be a teen by then... so now we have a man...

I guess this begs the question, that maybe, we have all asked ourselves, countless times, why do we do it? Why do they do it?

Well, judging from my experience as a commuter who has a long drive to and from work... having gotten a speeding ticket a year or so ago, I'd say, based on those that fly past me a double the speed limit everyday, avoiding the law, my answer is - we're in a hurry to get somewhere. The question we need to ask ourselves is: are we putting ourselves or others in danger? Are we risking civil/criminal penalties? Or are we simply feeling an American sense of our right to express ourselves, i.e., civil disobediance?

I didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize, as most of you know by now... and I'm pleased Obama did because in a way I believe and hope he deserves it... he may not have "done much" yet, but he has done a lot to bring change to our politics... or transparency to how politics works. He's got a lot of work to do, as do all of us. "Teen in Jail"... Slams idea with the toilet paper routine does seem like a good place to start - although - that picture of your cell looked pretty clean!

Interesting post, as usual, Slam... informative.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm glad his mom is posting those...I think maybe collecting them all into a book and publishing it might be a good idea.