My name is A.W. and I was bounded over and tried as an adult at the age of 16 yrs. old. I was convicted of murder, a gun specification and felonious assault and my plea agreement in which I made was 20 yrs. to life, but before I begin to discuss the process and effects of the bind over procedures, I would like to share a brief history of my family and how I grew up as a child.
Well I was born and raised in Ohio. I am the oldest son of my mother children. My father was in and out of our lives growing up due to him being involved in the streets which resulted in him being in and out of prison. My mother tried her best to raise and to provide for us. Working two or three jobs at times to make sure we were alright, but she couldn’t watch me all day and the neighborhood I grew up in introduced me with the façade of the fast life of quick money, cars, street respect, girls and all the negativity that comes with that life style.
I became involved in the streets at a young age beginning with doing drugs and committing petty crimes which eventually landed me in juvenile detention. It was cool in there; they tried to change our behavior by talking to us and bringing in speakers who were ex drug addicts an athlete who we couldn’t relate to. We couldn’t respect drug addicts because in the hood a drug addict would do anything to get high and they were considered scum. Plus these peoples message at the time, who delivered these speeches, approach was god and religion, and this was the wrong tactic in my opinion because most of us didn’t believe in god, and the other half who knew about god only believe in it because of their parents and how their parents were not there to make them pay attention, so we had no positive role models who could reach us who could relate to, so we went back to the streets because we didn’t learn our lesson.
Begins in juvenile detention and coming back to my hood it was sort of a rite of passage because I was treated with a new found and false respect which only fed my childish mind and ego. I became deeply involved in the streets by joining gangs, selling drugs, and doing other uncivilized things which I thought was necessary to survive in the streets.
Before I got bounded over, I never heard of it, but when it was happening, me and a few others who were going through the same process as me begin to talk about it, because we were hearing rumors that if we get bounded over that we would get a lessor time for our crimes instead of getting juvenile life which was up to the age of 25 yrs. old. We couldn’t really understand the seriousness of the crimes we were being charged with. Some of us were being taken to the homicide building to be questioned without our parents or guardians being there, and this was being done so that the detectives could try to get as much information they could get by scaring these children before their parents/guardians could supervise the questioning.
In the juvenile system the juvenile couldn’t proceed in their criminal case without their legal guardian and if their legal guardians couldn’t show then court would appoint a temporary guardian for the juvenile. This was done let the guardian know the situation of what was being done to the juvenile so that it could be explained to the juvenile, and so that everyone could have a clear understanding of what was happening, but as soon as we got bounded over we are left with all the major decision that will affect the rest of our lives, and the adult system places this much power in a child’s hand. Most of these children never had any real responsibilities to take care of and never decided anything major that would affect their lives without any help. Majority of these children can’t even read or write, so how do these people who pass laws and give these juveniles this power really expect these children to really comprehend what’s being done to them when the day before when they were being tried as a juveniles their lives were in their guardian hands, but now the next day these children are making all these decisions just like that and this a crime in itself.
Then the lawyers who are given to us don’t care about our situation because they are already overwhelmed with so many cases. We are easily manipulated to take outrageous plea agreements made to believe that the plea was the best that they could get, but longer down the road while in prison we find out that we’ve gotten cheated in our time, but we can’t do nothing due to the plea agreement we made in the past. I have witnessed a lot. I have seen juveniles try to commit suicide and some have succeeded. I’ve seen rapes, stabbings, heard children crying and talking to themselves at night because they were depressed and were all alone. Some of us have become so cold and bitter inside towards the world that we only know how to express ourselves through violence we’ve become distant and don’t trust or can’t truly express our feelings for fear of being abandoned to deal with our own feelings just like we were when we were bounded over, and this is due to us not being properly taught how to cope with stress and the hardship of life as an adult mentally and emotionally.
Everyone that was bounded over that was in the justice center with have either been murdered once they got back to the streets , have come back numerous times or have come back to the prison with a lot of times. This is a problem because a lesson still hasn’t been learned and this the main reason why we are tried as adult. Then we have those like me who are doing a long time or those who have more time than me who might and don’t have the opportunity to go home because of the mistakes they’ve made when they were children.
I have been through a lot since I’ve been locked up and I am only 24yrs old. I have been a predator preying on anything that deemed as prey. At the age 18yrs old I was placed at a maximum security prison called, Lucasville. Where I remained violent and eventually my actions led me to catch three extra yrs. because I assaulted three co.’s which at 20 yrs. old I was transferred to a supermax prison which is the highest security that a prisoner can go and it is 23 hour lockdown, 7days a week. I eventually caught another assault on another co. and made a plea agreement with the courts. I am sharing this because it is important for the public to know this, because this was me letting out my anger and frustrations that I held inside for years. This was the only way I knew how because I wasn’t properly taught how to deal with my anger and emotions, so I showed my frustrations through violence, because my mentality and emotionally levels were still a child.
My time affected my family hard. My mother blames this whole situation on herself, because she feels she could’ve prevented all of this. My two younger brothers were lost and sad because I was as gone. My younger brother who was one year younger than me was involved in sports when I was on the streets was murdered in 2011 because he had gotten involved in the street life after I got locked up. I had two females I use to be in a relationships with have abortions because they didn’t want to raise a child alone. Every day I think about all the people that I have lost and will never see again since I’ve been in prison, and I also think about the victims and their families and how my foolish mentality impacted and changed their lives. This is one of the main reasons why I devote my life to bring awareness and hopes of reforming the bounded over system. I do this by sharing my story and teaching the youth how to become successful and how to cope with life on a realistic level. To live and how by example that people can change their ways for the better.
My plans that I have once released back into society is to go back to the inner city ghetto’s to reach the youth and also, their families. I want to speak to juveniles that are locked up, but most importantly I want to create a place where they can go once they’re released, so that they can still receive the proper guidance and support to keep them motivated to stay on a righteous path.
And in order to avoid the obstacles of my peers I am preparing to go back into society with a positive attitude and a realistic mind frame, so that I can be more effective in pursuing my goals. The reason why it is important for me to have a positive attitude is because there are a lot of people who have gone through the similar experiences as me, and have went back to the streets with a chip on their shoulder with a negative attitude like the world owes them something. And that isn’t the proper attitude that I want to go back out there with, because it will only lead me back into a desperate situation, and eventually back in here or dead. And it is a must that I have a realistic mind frame, because no one will hand me nothing, which means I will have to work extra hard to accomplish my goals. Because a lot of people will be very leery to work with me due to my record, so therefore I will have to show, and prove that I am serious in reaching my goals.
Since I’ve been locked up I have received my GED. The only programs that I have been involved in are anger management, a calm program and money smart program. A lot of programs that are offered in my opinion be very out dated, and not really that informative with relating to the situation that a lot of people are currently in. Plus these programs don’t get to the root of our problems, which means that it will not get the right solution to fix the problem.
My time in solitary confinement has not been easy at all. I was placed in a super max institution when I was 20yrs old into a place that is locked down 23 hours a day 5 days out of the week, and the reminder days are 24hour lock down. Hearing people around me who have lost their sanity, screaming, and punching doors, and walls, because they can’t handle the pressure of being trapped inside a cell that’s the same size as a closet for years, seeing people throw, and smear their feces on themselves or others, from correctional officers who try to treat us as animals instead of human beings that we are. I haven’t touched my family in over 5yrs. I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble, because I refused to be broken or treated as an animal, so I displayed violent behavior because at that time in my life that was my only method I knew, because I was never taught another route really.
But also being confined in these cells has made me get to know myself much better. My flaws and strengths, and from these experiences that I’ve endured I was able to teach myself through the proper education how to be a better person in life general. And to count the blessings I’ve received and not always looking at a situation always in a negative light, but trying to come up with ways to help others, and share with others so that they won’t make the same mistakes as me. A lot of people that are, or have been locked up don’t reach the level of consciousness that I have, so I am truly blessed, and I try my hardest to spread my blessing to others.
So close yet for at my fingertips, but not within grasp reach, exist, but not existent, secure, but falling vulnerable, but sturdy. Hated , but respected, loved, but neglected, granted access through rejection, humbly, bold a myth yet reality, deranged within perfect sanity, manipulated yet untainted, blemished, but pure powerful, but pitied, loyal, but rebuked, meek through pride, out spoken through silence, confined, but free. A guarded openness a discrete trust an unmoved passion, prudent through trails, what, or who am I???….. Some have answered this question as “life”, but the truth, and correct answer is “me” for I am “life”…
Thank you for listening to my story and I hope that I have given you a keen insight of this unrighteous process in order for you to do something’s to eliminate this bounded over process, so that no other child will have to suffer like me and so many have had to endure.
My god, my god why have my elders forgotten about me
Didn’t you tell them to watch over me
But it seems that they didn’t listen
Because they’ve thrown your child to the wolves like a piece of meat
And look what the wolves have done to me
Engulfed me and made me eat hate, greed and jealousy
So that’s how I act when my elders confront me
And they can’t understand why I act like this
But they are the ones who taught me
That what we eat is the same thing that we will shit
So god I ask you again to enlighten me
On why my elders have forgotten about me.
My child, my child I heard your prayers
So I’ve came down to interrupt
And share with you the jewels
On why your elders are corrupt
See most of them have lost their way
And these are the ones that are in power today
And my children who do know my teaches
Are scared to speak the truth
So they coward and run away
See my child I have to give test
In order for my children to bring out their best
So my child it was me who made them forget
And I had to use the youth to make them remember
That in order to survive that they have to have the youth
To instill the truth
Because my children are our future
So my son this was all a part of the plan
I made you go through hell so that you could know
How to stand
To take a stance of a righteous man
My son, go speak to the crowd of my teachings and do it aloud
And don’t forget my son to make me proud.
My elders, my elders I know why you have forgotten me
It is because you’ve forgot in what truth to believe
So you have tried to cover the truth with lies so that no one could see
That the lies you live and perceive are not what they are depicted to be
But it is up to me to give truth
Because that will set you free
See god said train up a child in the way he should go
So when he is old he will stay on the same road
But my elders you have given up on me
Which have led me down a destructive road
That has left me as a rose in the concrete
With little room to grow
Because soon as the thorn grew on my side
With a quickness and such swiftness
You kicked me in the side
Like I had no potential to stand the test of time
Like you never made mistakes when you were a child
But your elders seen something in you back then
Because they never gave up
Cause look at you now
So I ask you that you fight to protect me now
Because no matter how I grow I am still your child.
My youth, my youth I now you didn’t think
That for one second I could and would forget about you
Never that, because I live and breathe for you
May I and me means you and us
Because without you and us who then could trust
I understand the pain and betrayal that you’ve felt
From the violence you’ve showed
To the tears you’ve cried
Because you didn’t know how to ask for help
But don’t worry because I will be the voice for us
That this cycle will be broken
And no one else children will come after us
To suffer the exploitation and oppression the same as our fate
So that no children will have to pay with their lives
For one damn mistake.