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They have my social security number, drivers license number, address and fingerprints. They let me in to visit inmate # 1000946150.

They don’t know who I am.  

I am invisible to them even though I show up week after week, year after year to visit my son in prison. Even though I call them and write them, they still don’t know who I am.

Oh, maybe they know the infamous Kate Boccia. Momma Kate. But do they know that I love children, dogs, food, art, music and that I especially love the beach?

November 1, 2017 started out as a normal day I suppose. I had ended the previous day at an event that had deep discussion around second chance hiring. It is part of the bigger picture of reforming our justice system and one that resonated with me personally as I pondered Daniel’s fate when he returns home next year.

It also was a day that I could say we have less than a year to go.

Eleven more Oprah subscriptions, or as Daniel puts it, 11 more chicken on the bone. (Ask someone who lives behind the wire what that means.)

Daniel and I have  been in a category 5 hurricane for 5 years now.

2. 5 million American families have been in this dangerous storm for decades. We are being whipped by high winds and beaten with flying debris coming out of nowhere. We constantly dodge the lies and accusations. Ducking the blows as best we can without real shelter.

I must be honest with myself. I keep doing the same things regarding how I mother my son. I defend, object, interfere, react, stomp my feet, take action and admit his failures while asking for solutions. What I don’t do is accept the ridiculous statements on how he “should” behave.

There are excuses and there are reasons. I choose to discuss the reasons why he behaves in a certain fashion.

When my son was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison they forgot to mention the other part of his sentence. They forgot to tell me that I would be terrified every day during his stay in prison. They forgot to tell me that he would be subjected to fear and torture. They forgot to tell me about the gangs and violence. They forgot to tell me about the contraband and corruption.

Wait.

Did I say those words? Contraband and corruption.

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