Monday, April 16, 2012

My Daddy Tribute: J is for Jail

No, my father was never in jail. At least not as far as I know! (And if you know something I don't, please do not tarnish my image of my father! LOL) But he did work at a juvenile jail for several years. When my parents decided to give up their furniture store, my father managed to secure a position working in a juvenile detention center. He worked a lot of first shift at that time and had a chance to interact with the kids.

My father always had a soft spot for boys who needed positive role models. He did a lot of sponsorships in AA for about 30 years. I had all kinds of "brothers" while I was growing up. And when he was at the detention center, he got to do the same thing.

Eventually he moved over to the residential facility, where offenders stayed for more long-term sentences. I think the kids respected him for the most part, because he respected them. He liked to joke around with them and treated them like human beings. Sometimes, these troubled boys just want someone to pay attention to them.

As Dad's health declined, he eventually had to move to the third shift. That meant less walking around and less liability because he was unlikely to have to chase someone down at that hour. I know he really missed the kids, though, not being able to see them all day long. I remember him being really upset when one of the boys committed suicide. At least it wasn't on his watch, but he was still quite shaken up by the incident.

When Dad finally reached retirement age, he gave in to retirement. He never quite got over that third shift kind of a schedule. He was often still up all night and slept all day. It made it hard on him because my mom was on an opposite schedule. Toward the end, they seemed to compromise more. He didn't really miss the politics of being at the jail, but I know he missed a couple of his coworkers and again the kids.

A few of them came to pay their respects at his memorial service. I think he would have liked that.

I wonder how many lives he truly touched while he was there....


  1. He had a very important job and it sounds like he was a positive influence when they needed it most.

  2. what a wonderful thing about your dad--i have a heart for prison ministry

  3. I think it's wonderful you're spending your time on the a to z blog posting about your father. What a wonderful tribute. How original to find 26 things about your father you want to write about. I was a Montessori teacher for five years and loved it. Good luck to you and please come visit my blog if you get a chance.

  4. Another great tribute to your parents...good for you! Me again, from the the way, my kids were in Montessori from Pre-K to 1st grade. They (and I) loved it!