Prison Radio
Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall

The long-awaited Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) Juvenile Lifer Program’s “Friends Family Day For Child Lifers” was held in late October at SCI-Rockview for the 31 Child Lifers at that institution.

Attended by officials from the PDOC, Parole Board, Pa. Prison Society, Defenders’ Association, along with 10 Child Lifers & 3 Family members, the Family Day for Child Lifers event turned out to be a huge disappointment for Child Lifers seeking to be reconnected with long-lost family and a smooth transition into society.

From the onset, Child Lifers were skeptical & suspicious of the PDOC’s Family Day For Child Lifers event, because it had the all too familiar appearance of another public relations project to polish the PDOC’s public image of showing benevolence towards prisoners at their expence, and because the event was another top-down bureaucratic program that refused to consider Chiid Lifers’ proposals of how best to reconnect them to their families and ease their return to society.

Hence, the Family Day for Child Lifers event was doomed from the start, because it failed to reconnect Child Lifers with long-lost family and ease Child Lifers’ transition to society. The PDOC did not provide transportation for the families of child lifers to even attend the Family Day event. As a resuit, only 10 out of 31 Child Lifers at SCl-Rockview attended the Family Day For Child Lifers event, and only 3 out of the 10 Child Lifers’ families were actually able to attend. Child Lifers who normally receive family visits, were the ones whose families attended the Family Day event.

Several Child Lifers came away from the Family Day event sorely disappointed and upset. Child Lifer Keith Anderson said, “The D.O.C. aren’t doing a damn thing to help us reestablish our family ties they broke before we’re released from prison.” Child Lifer Rasheed stated, “Juvenile Lifer Project Manager Robert Hammond outright rejected our proposal to transfer Child Lifers to prisons closest to our home areas to reconnect us with our families and to allow our attorneys to have access to us to prepare for our Resentencing Hearings.”

The PDOC’s Family Day event at SCI-Rockview only confirmed Child Lifers’ suspicions of the PDOC’s insincerity in helping to reconnect Child Lifers with their long-lost family members.

A true Family Day For Child Lifers program would have as its objective to reconnect
Child Lifers to their family, would provide transportation to Child Lifers whose families have no means to visit, would transfer Child Lifers to prisons close to their home counties to reestablish family ties, and would provide ongoing Family Days For Child Lifers banquets. Any child lifer project other than that is Fraudulent!

From The Belly of The Beast, at Prison Radio, l am Shakaboona.