Cherie Livett Bombell

Kids Behind Bars, Geneva Illinois

Browsing Posts tagged life lessons

Tweet I recently read Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy Tyson. It helped me to make sense of an incident that happened at Geneva in the 70s – one that has haunted me since. A man that worked on Wallace Cottage sometimes made bad decisions. I’m going to call him Mr Jay. He played […]

I don’t remember my response to Mike but I’ve never been able to answer those questions to my own satisfaction. Did I unfairly impose my values on him? Did I use my influence and power in my role to create an unrealistic expectation that would only lead to disappointment and self-loathing? Did I make his life harder to live? As professionals in the ‘helping’ careers, where do we draw the line when we have influence and power over others? Do we use a Christian ethos as an excuse to convince ourselves that we must ‘save’ others that are less fortunate? After 40 years, I still can’t find an answer that I’m certain is totally, morally true for me.

The inmates were only a few years younger than me. Most were smart though not educated; most came from inner city Chicago – ‘the ghetto’. Most were born into poverty and I into security. They’re black; I’m white. My color and social standing bestowed ‘privilege’ on me – a valuable commodity that those kids didn’t have access to.

Tweet Exploring the life lessons taught to me by kids from the ghetto that were incarcerated at Illinois State Training School for Girls (later called Illinois State Training School after males were sentenced there). You’re welcome to share the journey with me and I’d love to hear your comments.

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