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The Second Tragedy

April 28, 2012

The First Tragedy

By Bonnie Hall Gerson

 Brain research has shown that our young are not capable of controlling their impulses like most adults. The brain is still growing and changing in young people. Most juveniles under 18 cannot be as responsible as an adult when it comes to reasoning and long term consequences. They are also more vulnerable to intimidation.

Davin was placed in an adult  prison, “Granite,” at age 17. He was still weak and under-weight. He had just come out of the hospital after a nearly dying in the Tulsa county jail. Davin’s appendix had burst while he was being held. He was in excruciating pain and cried out for help for four days before a guard finally believed he was not faking and he was taken to a hospital. Surgery was performed three times. First a surgery to remove Davin’s infected, destroyed appendix and tissues. A scaffold of fabric mesh had to be stapled in to his abdomen to hold his organs in place. He had to be fed through a tube and was in critical condition. Second after months, he was sent back to the county jail with the wound left partly open so the infection could drain. He had trouble digesting the prison food. Davin went back to the hospital where they removed a section of his intestinal track and stitched him up. Two weeks later the infection started oozing through his scar. Then they re-opened him to drain off the infection. Then again, the doctors sent him back to jail with an open hole in his abdomen to be treated in prison.

When he got back to his cell this time, everything he owned had been stolen. Gone was his radio, his books, letters, pencils and art supplies.

Next Davin had to go through the stress of being tried as an adult for killing a 21 year old man. At that time he had no understanding of what was in store for him. He never told us or his attorneys his motive for the offence. We did not find out for seven years that at the age of 14 he was the victim of a sexual assault. I was never allowed to hug him or hold his hand.

Sexual assault does not justify Davin killing a young man and Davin regretted it his whole life. But sending juveniles to a maximum security prison is also a terrible injustice. At 17, with a hole in his side, weak from multiple surgeries and weighing a mere 90 pounds, Davin was sent to one of the most dangerous prisons in the country for adults. Davin was thrown to the wolves where only one out of a hundred who enters as a juvenile comes out alive. Tragic!

 

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