Don't be so judgmental on donut theft
January 7, 2009 · 3:14 PM
I am the sister of Jeffrey Hurt aka the Doughnut Thief (News-Times, Dec. 20). After online reading responses to his story I felt I needed to respond myself.
To start with, I believe he is not an idiot like most people are saying. He is a very smart person who makes bad decisions from time to time and just because someone makes bad choices they shouldn’t be permanently labeled in a negative light.
I believe that people who have dual diagnosis mental illness get an extra bad wrap, and have an even harder time when they try to redeem themselves. Especially those who have drug abuse problems for when that is revealed you are condemned for a long time, if not for life.
I can say that we grew up in a decent home and got what we needed growing up. And we were lucky enough to get things that we had wanted. We resided with our mother our whole childhood and some of our adulthood.
We’ve had two alcoholic fathers, one of which quit drinking. We both had our favorite classes in school when we went and were slow in the rest of them. We have both unfortunately experienced physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse throughout different times in our lives. Going through just those alone since being little makes it hard to function in society at a so-called normal level.
We have both been in and out of treatment for dual diagnosis. We have both had run-ins with the law for many years, although he has spent more time in juvenile hall, jail and even prison. When we could, we were in counseling and on meds.
I do not tell you these things for you to feel sorry for us or use them as an excuse. I tell you so you may have more understanding. When you take all these and add them up all these years on top of self medicating with illegal drugs you get my brother and me. We are two people trying to survive the only way we know how. I truly believe we can change for the better and be more productive members of society. I must admit that it is much easier said than done.
I was able to get counseling and go to groups and meetings to work on me. I had people in the courts and in law enforcement who believed in me even when I was not a good girl. I had family and friends who supported me and showed me tough love. Most of all I started to believe in me. Had it not been for everyone I would not be where I am today!
I have just finished my paralegal and criminal law courses. Next month I will start college again for forensic science. I am going to go into some kind of legal field to help those like me and believe in them as I was believed in.
As for Jeff, and many others on the island like him, it is not as easy. After exhausting every bridge for help what do you do when there are no more bridges left? I can tell you he stays stuck wanting to get somewhere but has nowhere to go, and sometimes you end up falling back deeper.
Jeff has the best of intentions like most everyone but sometimes hurts the ones he loves, strangers, and himself in the process.
I know that Jeff will come out with issues far more horrible than when he went in. I believe he needs to pay for his crimes, but 3 1/2 years is a bit extensive for a box of doughnuts. I think he could get what he needs from just doing a solid year in jail locally. He would get stable on meds. He would be able to get his AA meetings and NA meetings to work on his addiction. He would be able to have his family and friends visit to show support and keep up his morale.
Jeff has had productive periods of time without doing drugs and breaking the law. I know in my heart he can again. He deserves another chance like I was given. He deserves to have support and be believed in so he himself can believe and have hope again.
My hope is that someday our society will try to help more people like Jeff and not shun them. I hope there can be a day when there are more treatment centers and halfway houses to house and counsel people like Jeff.
On our small island there are a lot of people who have mental health and or drug use problems. They, like Jeff, are good people. A couple of them are the best friends I have ever had and would not trade them for anything. I will always be there for them and have the hope that they too can change for the better. Just like the people who believed in me and had hope for me.