Cherie Livett Bombell

Kids Behind Bars, Geneva Illinois

Browsing Posts tagged racism

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 […]

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.

I remember a beautiful girl, Denise, 11 years old and incarcerated for truancy. She would sit in the TV room at night and rock forward and back, forward and back, her arms encircling her body in an attempted hug. Taking a young girl out of her family home for truancy was and is a terrible thing to do. Her innocence was exposed to older and wilder girls that had life experiences Denise couldn’t comprehend. She was a beautiful, innocent child and you can bet if she’d been white, she would never have heard of ‘Geneva’.

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