Judge Not What You See

By Officer B.
Juvenile Unit Correctional Officer, DC Jail

In the 5 years I’ve been here on this C4B juvenile unit I have met many kinds of young men. Many who claim to be HEARTLESS and RUTHLESS and by their crimes you would believe this also but then you get to know them, talk with them, learn about them and their families or lack thereof. Many have made mistakes in which they can’t come back from. Even though they may not say it I know they wish they could change their circumstances. Most are from the streets if not all and what their peers think of them means so much to them. But what someone should have told them that taking something from people, hurting people or taking a life does not make you a man. They were told that they were men too early in life. They have a lot of maturity to go to reach Manhood and the learning does not stop because of age.  You should always try to learn and grow as a person. What I am saying is that out of all the young men that I have met they all were looking for LOVE and UNDERSTANDING from someone. No (MOM) or (DAD) in some circumstances can change a person in so many ways that we cannot imagine how it could affect a person’s life. After all we’re only human, born to make mistakes.

Sometimes they are really hard to recover from.

C.O. B.


  1. Joe on April 22, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Thanks for sharing this, officer. It’s nice to hear the perspective of someone in a position of authority who recognizes the humanity and vulnerability of young men who most of the world has written off as “heartless and ruthless”. I especially thought your line that “They were told that they were men too early in life” was pretty profound – it can be hard to imagine the weight some have had to carry at such a young age. And I think you’re completely right that everyone is basically looking for the same thing: love and understanding. It’s so important to remember that we’re all trying to fulfill those same basic needs even when we make our worst mistakes.

    Thanks again. Your level of empathy and thoughtfulness is something that gives me hope.

  2. Gary on April 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    This is the most heartwarming, and positive thing I have ever heard a correctional officer say about the the young men behind bars. I was once one of those young men and by my charge you would have thought that i never cared about anything or anyone. when the truth is that it took time to get to know me and learn that i only made a mistake that i could not take back. And it says so much about you to take the time to actually learn those young men. Thank you for your empathy and thoughtfulness…

  3. WilderSoul on May 2, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    [C.O. B. – I like this post.] 🙂

    I have often wondered how to contact people in prisons to offer love and understanding, and perhaps this is the closest I get to it – commenting on a blog where the words can be printed and delivered. Many people have been through lives which are totally incomprehensible to others who have not been there. I’m glad this Free Minds blog helps connect people to the potential support and understanding which I have found within the WordPress community, and the wider internet community. Hope this support channels through to those who need it most.

    My time is limited, and I want to visit here as often as I can. Let me know if there is anything in particular I can do. I found colouring in very helpful in healing from PTSD, and I wonder if my free online colouring book may be of use? Free to print out? Or I could create a PDF for download for the prison to use for free? Just let me know. All the best to all of you.

    Anasera (WilderSoul)

  4. WilderSoul on May 2, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    Dear C.O. B.

    I wish I could reply to more poems today, yet I must go and attend to things here at home. My very best wishes to all of you there. Please let them know “I hope to reply at least once to all of you eventually.”

    Thank you, and Love to all,

    PS. I ‘liked’ this and gave it a five star rating! 🙂

  5. WilderSoul on May 2, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Reblogged this on Pull up a Big Armchair and talk your heart out… and commented:
    This is a small portal of communication available to prisoners who write poetry. If you press the Like button, add ‘I liked this’ to the comments, as they will not see the blog screen, only a printout of the comments. This is a place I will visit often. I’ve made up my mind.

  6. The Running Son on June 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I am heartened to have landed here through WilderSoul.

    I am a poet, I have been to jail. I have pondered questions about true evil, the point of no return, consciences given a voice through poetry, or art, words that would never slip out from inmates mouths, not in jail, not anywhere.

    I feel intensely about this. They are the segment of our society the most lost, and the most abandoned. Lost to themselves and everything they ever hoped for, sometimes. Children, whose eyes darted as freely as anybody elses, suburban, rural, white, black no matter. All of the children looked around freely, learning, and predestined for no evil.

    Then things happened. The sum of it, too heavy for words. But maybe in poetry. I am in support of any project surrounding expression from those least likely to have been taught to express freely.

    The chain goes on,
    the revolving door goes round.
    I cant account for hope,
    save one soul lost, be found.

    Sincerely, Jim Aldrich (aka RunningSon)

  7. Mbachur Mbenga on July 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I really appreciate this post.
    I hope you can continue to guide, and even mentor these young boys and men to a path of positive living, and self-awareness.


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