County Commissioner J.C. Henderson is regularly serving jail time because of his son's failure to report for mandatory juvenile court programs, a sentence which Henderson feels is unfair to him as a parent.
Henderson was booked into jail at 6 p.m. Tuesday and released at 4:17 a.m. Wednesday, as the latest part of his sentence to serve 80 hours in jail for contempt of court, after his third-oldest son didn't report to juvenile court classes. According to Henderson's booking sheet, he is scheduled to serve time in jail the second Tuesday of each month until his sentence is completed.
Henderson called The News Thursday and said the contempt charge stems from 2010. He declined to give his son's name, but said it was not his stepson Quintarious, who has been arrested previously.
"You couldn't tell him nothing. We tried to because he was about 16 then," Henderson said. "We took our son and we did what they asked us to do. We couldn't make him go to some of that stuff; the boy is just as big as we are."
Henderson said he thought the issue ended when his son turned 17 last summer and his juvenile record was closed, but Henderson said he was notified this spring that he still had to go to jail.
"I don't feel bad about going to jail because I didn't do anything to anybody and I did the best I could,"
Henderson said. "We took him to summer school and extra classes to make sure he graduated this year. I thought we were really good parents, including taking care of our grandson (from Henderson's third-oldest son)."
The Newton County Juvenile Court did not release any records in the case Thursday, because most juvenile records are not accessible to the general public under state law.
"I just hate that it seems like me and several other parents, we've been kind of put in a position to go to jail for our children, when really and truthfully we did nothing but encourage him to do the right thing," Henderson said.
"There's a glitch in the whole system and I just hate for regular citizens that go in here and have to spend money we don't have, classes or whatever they're paying for," he said. "They're saying these kids are responsible for paying bills or fines, but he doesn't have a job and that puts an extra burden on things."
Henderson also criticized the county for spending so much money on prosecuting these types of cases.
"People work extremely hard and (the county) spends a lot taxpayers' money for contempt, which it was contempt, but it was something out of my control. You would be surprised and I was surprised at the waste of money, how much they throw just to make themselves feel right," he said.
"If people are going to hold this against me, which some will and some won't, I would like to know a parent who goes out and tells his child to do something and he actually does it, whether a boy or a girl."