Prison is better than this!!!

29 Dec

Nev was meant to start at the school last week. Instead he was at ‘her majesty’s pleasure’. He still got a look around – cuffed to the accompanying prison guard. Seemed like the most normal thing in the world to him, as did the electronic tag he wore when he started, almost like a trophy.
It’s difficult to see things from another person’s point of view sometimes, especially when that someone is only 13 and already in prison.
Nev was a difficult kid, but he had a ‘smooth guy’ charm and was excellent at sweet talking the ladies. When you looked at him it was very difficult to believe what was beneath.
I didn’t really have much connection with his family, I was just his teacher, but did he ever give me a headache. You really had to be careful that everything was nailed and screwed down, or it might just vanish out of the window! (if you hadn’t checked at least 20 times a lesson that he hadn’t deliberately left one ajar!)
It was easy to forget Nev had been in prison already (if you could forget for a moment about the ‘trophy’ tag on his ankle!)   However no-one was prepared for his reaction when his mother decided to turn up at the school.
She was very drunk, and as it turns out, also very ‘high’. Nev didn’t know whether to cry or shout, stay or run. He chose to run. The staff were understandably concerned, as he could be anywhere, or up to anything. The police were meant to be informed. We asked the other students where he might have gone in the hope that we could find him and stop him.
He had told the others he had heard about a car that was in a garage nearby, deemed to be ‘easy to nick’. Staff raced round there to try and talk him round.
After a large heart to heart he was apparently asked why he did this, he was on tag, he had a record already, did he want to go back to prison for goodness sake?! Here was his reasoning:
His mother, he said, was a heroin addict, prostitute and alcoholic. He didn’t have a father. Prison was better than real life. At least there he had a roof over his head, his washing done and guaranteed 3 hot meals a day. So yes, he wanted to get caught, he wanted to be arrested and YES he wanted to go back.
What kind of life has he got, I ask myself, when they see a prison as a ‘better option’. It makes me very sad, because deep down inside, Nev was a great kid, just looking for someone to take care of him. It’s a shame that he saw ‘her majesty’s pleasure’ as the only people who ‘cared’.
How many more youngsters, I wonder, are in a similar position to Nev, and how many teachers and schools really have no idea about it at all?
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