This week, I’m on my pedestal. Sorry. Not sorry.
Three people I know were sexually assaulted as children. I have seen first-hand how this crime can destroy lives.
Several times each year, I receive what we call “jail mail.” The envelopes are pretty easy to spot. The top, left-hand corner usually has a name with a long number after it (the prisoner number).
These letters all have the following in common:
1. The individual has a fascinating story to tell.
2. They don’t have any money to publish a book.
3. They haven’t had any luck landing a traditional contract.
4. Their story is so amazing that they KNOW I’ll want to publish it for free.
5. If we respond, we’ll need to contact a family member of theirs (this part is odd – maybe something to do with the jail mail system).
6. They never describe the crime for which they have been convicted. It seems this is “irrelevant” to the circumstances concerning them wanting to get published.
6. They are ALL innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted.
7. And, they were ALL railroaded by “the system,” The D.A, the judge, their accuser(s), etc., etc.
Now, I believe in giving people a second chance for small crimes like, you know, shoplifting. However, I draw the line at crimes that actually involve physically harming someone on purpose – assault and murder. Even worse than murder, in my mind, is child abuse.
These prisoners apparently think I’m downright daft because they are required to put their name on the jail mail and I have easy access to the Internet. Out of morbid curiosity, I always find them online to see what they did.
Awhile back, I was contacted by a woman who claimed her innocence, etc. She actually sounded pretty intelligent. However, after a few keyboard punches, I found she had beaten her own child almost to death, and had previous convictions for child abuse. Why in the world do those people get their kids back? That woman will be in prison for decades.
Today’s jail mail came from a man here in sunny Florida. As always, his crime was not mentioned in his letter because, you know, he’s “innocent.” I was able to find him within seconds because his name is very unique. Sexual battery on a minor between 12 and 15 years of age. He was arrested in 2015 and his mugshot from back then appeared alongside his current photo. He appears to have aged at least 20 years while in prison.
If you are a prisoner, and convicted of a felony, do NOT contact me. You’ll be wasting your time and mine. I will Google you, shake my head, share the story with my co-workers, and throw your letter away.
I don’t work with scum. Period. And, if that makes me an uncaring, unforgiving person, so be it. Child abuse is worse than murder. It forever changes a child, and often destroys the life he or she was meant to have. I think the death penalty should be for murderers AND child abusers.
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“Can I base my fictional character on a convicted criminal?”
“I’m a convicted felon. Will you write my story, and help me land a publishing deal?”
It’s True What They Say About Writing True Crime By Juliann Wetz
Would YOU Write for a Convicted Killer? 5 Types of Clients…and Which Ones to AVOID! by Rich Mintzer, Ghostwriter
Q – “Should I write about abuse I endured as a child if the abuser is still living?”
Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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Cheers to you!
SUBMITTED VIA EMAIL TO WRITERSWEEKLY:
Wow. I really appreciate your declaration regarding Jail-Mail inquiries by murderers and child molesters. Thank you for being so bold – brave even – and for truly understanding the impact of child abuse. I agree with your assessment. On every point. PTSD lingers for a lifetime when it involves years of terror, years of brutality and beatings to a young child. Even more so when that child has to endure that as well as sexual abuse from an adult “friend” of the family. It changes the course of a child’s life. It is soul crushing. One of those children developed a righteous rage just below the surface that grew into a fierce protective spirit as they got older.
THE PROMISE started when they were still a child – the promise that ran deep in their young soul screamed, NO CHILD OF MINE WILL EVER GO THROUGH THAT! NO CHILD OF MINE WILL LIVE IN FEAR. THERE WILL BE NO PHYSICAL ABUSE. NO EMOTIONAL ABUSE. THEY WILL KNOW KINDNESS AND LOVE AND WILL HAVE A VOICE.
The promise was kept.