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It’s NOT safe.

Posted in 2013, Take Action Now Wednesday, 10 April 2013

 

 

 
 

This is the true story of Ameen. Ameen has been incarcerated since age 13 and is serving a life sentence.  He writes:

 

“My four sisters and I were raised by our mother.  My father was in and out of the system….  He never taught me much … [except to tell me] that I was the man of the house, and [had] to take care of my mother and sisters.  I was only ten years old at the time, but I understood perfectly what I was instructed to do….  My mother was struggling to provide for my sisters and I, so I took it upon myself to try and help out.  I hit the streets of Atlanta and began hustling….  I stole, sold drugs, robbed, and did whatever else it took to make money, all of which I brought home to my family.  My mother didn’t approve of me hustling, but she understood my motive, turned a blind eye, and begged me to be careful.

 

I was raised by the older gangsters and dope dealers [and] taught to never talk to the police about what I saw….  [One day], I witnessed one of the older drug dealers murder a kid in cold blood.  I [saw] the entire thing … but wasn’t involved.  I was simply a bystander – a 13-year-old kid in the wrong place at the wrong time….  Someone told the cops that I was at the scene of the crime so I was arrested for the murder.  [The authorities] gave me several opportunities to tell them exactly what I saw, [but] … that was forbidden in my hood … so I kept my mouth closed [and] was sentenced to life.

 

I arrived [in prison] at the age of 16 and [went to a] dorm designed to house juvenile prisoners until they were eligible to go into general population [at age 17].  Yet, while in [the dorm], I and several other juvenile prisoners interacted with the older prisoners.  We went to school, church, medical, and lunch with these older prisoners… [they] even cut our hair.  There were terrible interactions too.  While one prisoner was busy cutting hair, [another would] force my juvenile comrades to perform oral sex….  I saw a 14-year-old kid get brutally raped by three adult prisoners in the bathroom….  They choked him until he lost consciousness and then they took turns raping him….  I was afraid they were going to rape me also.  They kept a knife pointed to my neck…and threatened to rape me if I told the officer what I saw.  So again, I kept my mouth closed.

 

I [have] realized that the reason why I’m in prison is because I wouldn’t speak up about what I saw….  If  I’m ever given a chance to finally speak out…I am going to finally tell the police what really happened [the day of the murder] and why housing juvenile offenders with adults is dangerous.”  

 
Contact your governor to let him or her know personally that to do otherwise would be to tacitly consent to the continual rape of children every day in your state.
 
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Visit the CFYJ PREA page to learn more about PREA and to read more stories from youth.