Dear Ann Landers: I had to write when I read the letter from the mother who is encouraging her teenage daughters to visit that “poor” teenage boy in prison. The mother has obviously fallen for the typical “not my fault” line that every convict pulls to get sympathy. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the 15-year-old daughter has already developed a major crush on the “nice young fellow who got drunk and killed a man.” That, of course, is the line he is feeding her.
Do I know what I’m talking about? You bet I do. I’ve been teaching junior high school for 23 years, and most of my kids have graduated and become worthwhile contributors to society. I do, however, have a few former students in prison, and I don’t visit them.
One boy was only 14 when he shot a 9-year-old girl while she was watching TV in her home. Why? Because her brother wouldn’t join his gang. Now, he is 21 and is being released. His younger brother sees how much attention the older one is getting, not to mention how bamboozled the mother is. She insists her son was framed, even though his fingerprints were on the sawed-off shotgun. The mother is sure her son will be a wonderful person now that he is out of jail. I hope she is right, but I wouldn’t bet on it. His gang is still around, and they look up to him now because he has “done time.”
The mother who wrote to you is out of her mind. She is encouraging her teenage daughters to make friends with a convicted killer. The father is equally stupid. He is using prison visits as an incentive to get the girls’ grades up. They all need family counseling. - Texas Teacher
Dear Texas Teacher: Thank you for your hard-boiled, down-to-earth comments. You are right on, and I applaud your candor. I hope the parents take your comments seriously and put an end to those jail visits. Read on:
Dear Ann Landers: I’ve been a nurse in a maximum security men’s prison for 11 years, and I about dropped my teeth when I read the letter from “Unsure West Coasters.” These idiot parents are encouraging their young teenage daughters to develop a relationship with a young man serving a 33-year sentence for murder.
It makes no sense to encourage a relationship with a 17-year-old who was packing a weapon and was so drunk he didn’t know what he was doing. Can you imagine what a wholesome influence he would be? His case is under appeal? Big deal. Every felon has an excuse and an appeal pending. A tragedy? The tragedy is that a man is dead and this punk is responsible.
The mother thinks it would be OK to visit because the visiting room is “supervised.” Visits last 50 minutes, and each prisoner can have two or three visitors, all supervised by one or two correctional officers. I can tell you stories of sexual abuse and drug trafficking that go on during those “supervised visits” that would curl your toes. “West Coasters” have mush where their brains should be. - Another West Coaster
Dear Ann Landers: Please tell that West Coast mother to listen to her husband when he tells her not to take their daughters to visit men in prison.
Recently, a teenage girl in Cleveland who was a good student and involved in church youth work started writing to a young man who was in prison. When he was released, he went to her home to see her. Now, he is charged with her murder.
Tell that mother and father no again. I pray they listen. - R.B., Akron, Ohio
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