Some Days Are Worse Than Others

Some days are just worse than others. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern. It just happens. Today is one of those days. Not because it’s raining. Or because it’s Monday. None of those things have ever brought me down. I know I dreamed about Drew last night. He was streaming and laughing. I miss his voice. I miss his laugh. Maybe that is a part of today’s emotional funk.

Today I find it hard to get off the sofa to do anything. I could beat myself up for that. But, I prefer to just accept that I’m grieving and apparently need to be kind and gentle with myself today.

So, while I’m just sitting here “doing nothing” I decided to respond to some of your most frequently asked questions and comments.

Q: Why is Drew in segregation or isolation so often?

A: We are told that the first time he was put in there because he self injured. As his mom my issue wasn’t necessarily their decision to isolate him from others, and to prevent him from injuring himself again. My anger is that no one asked him what was going on, why he wanted to, and attempted to end his life. Instead Drew reported he was strapped down to a reclining chair for what had to be hours, facing a bright florescent light, while he screamed for help. He was screaming in part because he has a sensitivity to florescent lighting; both the light and the humming sound, part of how autism affects him. This detail had been provided to the judge, and the jail. Also, his medications were abruptly withheld, which resulted in him going through painful withdrawl for weeks. He was lied to about my husband and me attempting to visit and call about him. We were lied to about his condition. We were lied to when we were told that he refused a visit with us. The second time he went into segregation was at Nottoway Correctional Center. He told me he couldn’t take the chaos, lighting, noise and everything about general population. He asked for segregation, knowing he was giving up the ability to receive mail, phone calls and visitors. That should be a huge red flag for the prison staff that maybe, just maybe he is telling them the truth when he says he has autism. This latest time in segregation, we have been told is because he was out in “the yard” and didn’t want to come in when called to come inside to eat. In an effort to be fair it sounded like the correctional officer realized that Drew was NOT being defiant, but that Drew was just not behaving like himself. So, he moved him to segregation (from what we are told) for his safety. I have not spoken to Drew since Easter Sunday morning. So, all of the information regarding the most recent segregation decision is NOT from Drew. We keep waiting to be able to talk with him.

Q: Why did the judge deny him in-home incarceration? Wasn’t he at home for years without any problems? Why did he send Drew to prison?

A: I don’t know. If you read my blog post about the “hearing” on March 2nd I shared some of the judges rational. Although I think “rational” is not a good word. One day I’ll elaborate more on our issues with that “hearing”, but that would be an entire blog post.

Q: I have read everything and I don’t understand why the judge convicted him in the first place. Why? Based on the judges decision we should all be in prison and on the sex offender registry.

A: I agree. This too deserves to be an entire blog post, or an article. The short answer is that our society has shifted from a “she’s asking for it” to “it must be his fault” mentality. The pendulum must swing back to the middle at some point, a case by case basis. If you research the sex offender registry you will likely be shocked by how many young people are on the registry. Not because they are perverts from whom you must protect your children (the original intention for the registry) but for reasons that should make every sane, rational person sickened enough to stand up for better laws and regulations. Don’t take my word for it. Please research it.

Q: Why is Drew listed as a “violent” sex offender? What I have read didn’t even sound like a sexual offense, let alone “violent.”

A: Sigh. Because of the way the law is written. It is disgusting, but it’s legal. Clearly after reading the transcripts most rational people would not conclude that Drew acted in a violent way, both based on his and her testimony. And…then add that the judge himself didn’t consider this to be “violent” when he sentenced Drew. Imagine being the parent of a young person who’s reputation and most likely entire life is ruined because of a technicality of the law that makes no sense. To be clear, we do not refer to Drew as a “sex offender”…we say he is ON the sex offender registry. We will fight for as long as it takes to have his name removed from the registry, to clear his reputation; and restore his rights.

Q: How often are you able to visit Drew?

A: Since the middle of March we have not been permitted to visit him. And, the link to the online form to request a visit with him is broken. I reported this to the prison, and to the online company weeks ago. So far no help. Also, anytime Drew is moved to segregation he is not allowed visitors.

Q: If this was my son I’d be doing more to get him out of there.

A: This is a full-time job for me. I understand that people think they would “do more”, be more vocal, raise hell; I’ve heard it all. If you have a suggestion please email it to me. I’m always open to a new idea. Be assured that I have reached out, and continue to reach out daily to people with influence who can hopefully help change Drew’s situation for the better.

Q: Isn’t there at least some place other than a prison for him to serve his time?

A: We continue to ask that question within the DOC. I know that even our neighbors would be in support of Drew coming home. We too think there needs to be alternatives, especially for people who have autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities. One size fits all obviously isn’t working. If you research and find something we haven’t located then please let me know. I will gladly check into your suggestions.

This feels like a good stopping point for today. Thank you all for caring, supporting, praying, writing and everything else you do to help us get through this nightmare. Words can’t adequately express our gratitude.

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