Inmate's children feel brunt of penalty

BY GINNIE GRAHAM Published: February 20, 2011


Koby has become the caregiver for his sisters on occasion as his grandmother serves as their guardian. The girls' father helps, but an illness prevents him from caring full-time for the children, Spottedcrow said.

“It's hard, and I have to have Koby help me,” said Starr, 50. “The people in the community have been real helpful. We would not have had Christmas without the donations. I couldn't do it without the help of the Lord. We pray every day.”

Starr earns minimum wage working at a gas station and receives food stamps and child care subsidies. She is paying off her nearly $8,600 in court fines at $50 a month. She lives in a rural area and cannot drive because her license was suspended after her conviction. She gets rides from neighbors and friends.

The girls call her “mama” once in a while, and Starr corrects them. “These little girls don't understand why … or how long she's going to be gone.”

Starr said the 1-year-old had an especially hard time. “She woke up … yelling ‘Mama, mama, mama,' and we'd just cry. We'd cry together. They are missing a lot without her here.”


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