Getting My Grandson Out of Juvenile Hall During the Covid Crisis

My grandson was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic on his first birthday. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. I will always remember that day - him in the Intensive Care Unit over at the University of San Francisco Medical Center receiving insulin shots to his fragile arm. Imagine a 12-month-old infant adapting to taking insulin shots; it was hard to cope, yet I had to get accustomed to doing so. It's a matter of life or death with this autoimmune disease.  

In July of 2019, my grandson was booked into juvenile hall. It seemed as if I was in jail myself. For the first couple of months of his detention, it was challenging to cope. I raised him practically from the day he was born, and he never left my sight for an extended period of time. This took a significant toll on him, I still recall the days where I would get a call from the hospital emergency room staff reporting that his blood sugar levels fell dangerously low. Keep in mind that this happened more than twice while he was in custody. Under the rules and regulations at Juvenile Hall as a parent/guardian, we are not allowed to chaperone our children to routine medical appointments & emergencies. Imagine someone calling you to tell you that your child is in the Emergency Room and you're not allowed to go. It's shameful and cold-hearted that our public figures would allow for these policies to exist. 

When I found out about COVID-19, I knew I had to rally behind my grandson's attorney to advocate for him to come home earlier than his prospective date. There was no way I was going to stand by and wait for COVID-19 to find its way into the juvenile hall. I sent an email to my grandson's attorney requesting for an immediate release as the COVID-19 infection rate skyrocketed in our county and in the nation. In addition to the email, I followed up with a call to my grandson’s attorney to make sure she saw it, which she had. She said that she sympathized with my concerns and that she would reach out to judge to help advocate for him to come home earlier. I emailed her again to find out when I could expect to hear back a response. I researched information online from the American Diabetic Association about how diabetics have a higher chance of experiencing severe complications from COVID-19 and how people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus. I forwarded the information to my grandson's attorney and asked her to use it as a reference, if needed. After a week of emailing and calling, I didn't hear anything from her. When my grandson would call home during his weekly home calls, I would remind him to call his attorney to follow up on her promise. 

Finally, on March 30th at 9 am, my grandson called me and stated that the judge signed the order for him to be released and I had to call the juvenile hall to coordinate a pick up time. At the moment of his release, I was filled with joy and gratitude, as a missing part of my family puzzle found its way home. I can tell you that I'm sleeping much better these days. 

My grandchild is half-way free as he is still subject to probation but at least I can personally tend to his medical needs with the love and care that random staff at juvenile hall can’t provide. Under my care, he is unlikely to end up in the emergency room. It's essential that in times like these, we, as family members, take the initiative to get involved in our loved ones well being because being in custody could literally mean a death sentence. Nobody is going to push for your loved one defense or well being as hard as we do!