A Mother's Vigil
On April 25th, Kevin Aplin, Jodi James, and myself caravanned with other vigilers to the Brevard County Detention Center Sharpes, FL to stand vigil on the right-of-way by the road that runs between Brevard's children and adult prisoners. We were there with Cheryl Woods, mother of a juvenile son, 14 year old named Brian, who has lived in the institution for 17 months awaiting trial without bond.
When Brian was 13 years old, he followed a 16 year old with robbery on his mind into what turned out to be the home of a 'correctional' officer. The older boy told Brian he was related to the owner and was supposed to be there to pick up some things. At one point, he handed Brian a gun, and as the owner walked up his driveway, the gun went off inside the house and the bullet embedded itself in the wall. The guard/homeowner pressed for charges of attempted murder. The 16 year old went home, Brian is still awaiting trial as an adult.Irate guards can cause a person in their care a lot of misery, and Brian has been accosted 25 times in his stay at Brevard. He has been pepper sprayed then left unwashed for days, badly bruised and repeatedly been placed in lock down. His mother had posters with pictures of her son's bruises from one altercation. Brian has been diagnosed with A.D.D. and has been denied adequate mental health care.
In December of 2000 Commander Brown informed Cheryl Woods that she was no longer allowed to have contact visits with her son. When Ms Woods asked for a copy of the rules and regulations concerning visits, this was denied.
Thus protesters asked for a full investigation into the treatment of juveniles at the facility, that contact visits be restored to Cheryl Woods and that the administration answers the public records request as required by FL statutes.Although sheriff's cars and police cars cruised us, no one stopped except an occasional guard asking questions, and some of the visitors who were there to see their own family member came by to get our information for later contact.I spoke to one young mother whose epileptic son had been arrested the past Saturday and was now sitting in five-point restraints "so drugged he can't say his name." "But that's because he was out of control," she said. Since the practice of the system is to withdraw all medications when a new prisoner arrives and then reissue them their own brand of medicine, I asked if that had been the case with her son. She told me she was still trying to find that out. But despite the restraints that killed a kid last year, and the overdosing of her son, the mother spoke adamantly as she said, "They are helping him." Maybe so. I don't know the situation, but this mother, new to the system, believed everything the guards told her. I don't know how she'll feel in a year.Channel 13 and Fox News came with their film crews.I am now collecting five cases of juveniles whose parents have documented their child's abuse in the Florida system for an FBI Citizen's complaint. You can contact me by phone, email or snail mail.Kay Lee
2613 Larry Court
Eau Gallie, Florida 32935