Joseph Hall was a *tortured little ten year old boy and a ward of the state when he shot his nazi father in the head in Louisiana. His father held monthly hate filled nazi gatherings in the home & in drunken a drug fueled rage he beat his son severely and regularly.
Joseph had been thrown out of many schools and shown violent behavior (reported violent behavior) since he was 3 years old.
What does being a Ward of the State mean in Louisiana? Why after 20 calls to the home by Social Services & multiple reports of strangling people & other violent behavior, was he left in this toxic stew of a home?
What does it take for a child to find refuge in Louisiana? Will the state execute the boy (he is being tried as an adult & Texas has ignored a federal ban on executing the mentally incompetent).
On the walk to the squad car, Joeseph asked the officer “do people get more than one life?”
Joseph was born into a state with the highest rates of poverty, infant mortality, child death, teen births, no health insurance, juvenile incarceration,& imprisonment, Louisiana children stand a greater chance of misery & early death than any other state in America (Geography Matters – Child Well Being In The States; Louisiana ranks 48th to 50th in almost all quality of life indices for children).
A recent Plantations, Prisons, & Profits article by Charles Blow, identified Louisiana as the prison capital of the world,with 1 in 86 adult residents in the prison system (the vast majority for nonviolent offences).
The good news is that for profit prisons in Louisiana are making a fortune. By offering almost no rehabilitation, crowded conditions & easy incarceration statutes (10 years for a bad check) means that capitalism has succeeded where slavery failed.
Leasing convicts as plantation labor was outlawed after the civil war.
Today, privatized prisons make more money milking the state for high per diem rates while ensuring low costs (minimal services) & legislators keep the prisons full (recidivism is 66% nationally and 68% in Louisiana) and Louisiana schools remaining at the bottom (of all 50 states) & the more money the state spends on incarceration, the less it can spend onpreventive measures like education (According to Education Week’s State Report Cards, Louisiana was one of three states and the District of Columbia to receive an F for K-12 achievement in 2012, and, this year, the state, over all, is facing a $220 million deficit in its $25 billion budget.)
This means nothing can change in Louisiana for a very long time. A good share of Louisiana citizens want Joseph tried as an adult and a good old fashioned hanging.
If you can read this, and you are a poor child in Louisiana living in a toxic home, there is not much you can do to save yourself, and the State won’t help you.
Beg some caring relative to take you to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, or almost any other state. Your chances of reading at a third grade level, graduating from high school, not going to prison or becoming a preteen mom will be exponentially improved. Please pass this on.
*The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence & deprivation”