Mother's Day Series: Love Messages From Behind Bars
Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday! Last week, we highlighted the voices of moms who had seen their children taken away by the adult criminal justice system. This week, to celebrate the very special place moms and caregivers hold in incarcerated youth’s lives, we asked them what message they wanted to send to their mothers. We collected them here.
- To the moms/caregivers who are going through the difficult time of having a loved one in prison, know that there is not a day that goes by that you are not appreciated. Your support is uncanny which makes you so special and valuable to not only your loved ones but to the world. Know that you are loved and appreciated. - Kevin, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware
- Remembering Jacqueline
When I was awaiting trial, my mother asked the prosecutor why I wasn’t being offered a plea bargain. She responded, ‘Your son is not worth saving.” Imagine that! My mom felt differently and came to visit me every week she was able to for almost 25 years. When I went to supermax, I’d been given a year in a solitary confinement for asking a female prison guard, “Would you like to get to know me?”, my mom went to a rally in downtown Milwaukee that was protesting Supermax. She took the mic and told the crowd I’d been given a year in the hole and sent to Supermax, and questioning the necessity of such severe sanctions for such petty offenses when Supermax was sold to the public as being for the worst of the worst prisoners. When I wrote three books my mom helped me publish them. I could always count on my mom to be there for me.
It has been two years since my mother passed away. As Mother’s Day falls on my birthday this year, I’m grateful I was blessed with a gift that never stopped giving, a wonderful mother. I only wish I could have gotten out and showed her my gratitude for all that she’d given me. - Phillip, Waupun Correctional Institution, Waupun, WI
- Happy Mother’s Day
For the mothers of CFYJ… Just wanted to say thanks for being so supportive… and concerned for youth/minors… Needing justice behind concrete walls! This movement is so important to me because I have no mother nor father but received a x-mas card from you guys that melted my heart! Keep up the good work! I’m extremely thankful for your love and support! Endless soul - Charles, George Beto Unit, Ten. Colony, TX
- Mother, you are the epitome of a strong black woman. I love you more than words could ever express. I could never thank you enough for your dedication, unconditional support, and for always standing by my side for these last 25 years. I am blessed to have you as my mother. Everything I strive to achieve, I do for you. I cannot wait until the day we are reunited. I love you, happy Mother’s Day! - Shavonne, Muncy, PA
- Dear Campaign for Youth Justice,
I don’t know how to put this letter for you to understand my situation, but I am going to try my best to let this all out. I was born an only child 6-2-1972. My mother gave to me her life and she only wanted good for me. My mother raised me the best way she could, yet everywhere she went I was with her, so growing up I knew everything she did. I got locked up at the age of 17 for a drug deal that went bad, and I killed a man. I got waived up to adult court and got found guilty of 1st degree murder. During my waiver hearing, my mother died in her sleep. I had just turned 18 years old, and now I’m without a family because she was my family.
I’ve been locked up for the past 27 years, and I lost my chance to say “mom, I love you” and to show her that I got my high school diploma, culinary arts chef apprenticeship and I’m a college student trying to earn my associate degree.
I’m not happy because as of right now I don’t have a family, I don’t get mail, emails, visits oe anything else to feel that I am loved and not alone. I’m up for parole in 2019 and on my behalf no one will show up. The board will release me into a world where I don’t have anyone to be there for me and guide me through the new world.
I just wanna thank you for mailing me cards to show me that I am being thought of, so thank you very much and I am grateful for your cards and thoughts.- Abdus-Salam, Southwoods State Prison, Bridgeton, NJ
- To moms/caregivers of CFYJ, your love and support means a lot to me. The card that was sent to me put the biggest smile on my face; just knowing that there’s someone out there taking the time out of their day to send me a card gives me hope.
[Campaign for] Youth Justice, keep doing what you guys are doing in fighting for youth justice around the world.
Moms, May is your month, and may God bless you with many more. Happy Mother’s Day to all. – Anthony, Newark, NJ