Justice for Izaak and all other SCDJJ children who suffer from Substance Abuse Disorder

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My son Izaak was involved with a crime at the very young age of 11. He was placed on probation with the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Throughout his years of probation he had several relapses with substance abuse disorder.. We were always honest with the SCDJJ about his relapses and went for appropriate help. Eventually we were told by Shoreline Behavioral Health that Izaak needed inpatient treatment. I found  long term treatment at The Whitehorse Academy. Izaak was placed on a waiting list but SCDJJ would not allow him to go because it was not part of the SCDJJ system.

Eventually at age 16, Izaak overdosed. I reported this to SCDJJ in the hopes that they would allow him to go to treatment. However they did not. Instead they violated his probation and he went before a judge who sentenced him to 36-54 months of incarceration at the SCDJJ.

Izaak excelled while incarcerated at Birchwood. He won a national award and was a member of "The Insiders". He eventually was one one a handful that was allowed to work on the outside.

After 2 years of incarceration Izaak was allowed return home on a "Conditional Release" For a little while(approximately 8 months), Izaak did very well. He obtained and did well at two jobs, he paid me back the $2,000 he had stolen from me before he was incarcerated, he bought his own car, he paid for his own insurance, he paid rent, etc. 

Just recently Izaak relapsed, again we were honest with his parole officer.. Izaak has been unable to enter treatment yet. .Last week he was picked up for violation of parole. His violation is relapse with substance abuse. He is currently  being at the Columbia SC Detention Center. 

I had thought that the SCDJJ was going to commit him to treatment. Unfortunately I already know that I was wrong. I was told by the ISO Supervisor that he thought my son needed more time in prison.. He stated that 2 years was not long enough. In an initial hearing yesterday I was also told by the head of the parole board that Izaak had a choice.

Izaak will go before the Parole Board on August 7, 2017. If he is found guilty of violating parole he could go to adult prison until he is 21. 

I feel that Izaak is being punished for having the disease of addiction. I feel like he should be a patient and not a prisoner. I feel like he is being punished for being honest. Izaak did not even fail a drug test. He just openly and honestly admitted that he had relapsed and didn't know how to stop. 

SCDJJ is responsible for the custodial care and rehabilitation for the state"s children who are incarcerated, on parole, or on probation. If they have this responsibility then I feel that the employees of the SCDJJ should be educated in the disease of addiction. I feel they should work along with the parent to do everything they can, up to and including involuntary placement in a treatment facility, if a child in their care relapses in their disease..Addiction is a disease and relapse is not a crime.

Please sign this petition in an effort to help Izaak and all other children receive treatment instead of incarceration in the unfortunate event of a relapse. Parents are worried enough that their child may die. They shouldn't have to worry that their child is going to prison because they are sick.

 

 

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