A Georgia judge used strong words and compassion recently to deliver a message of hope to some at-risk youths, and now, millions of online viewers are praising the effort.
“Stop acting like you’re trash,” Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin of the Macon Judicial Circuit told the youths as part of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office “Consider the Consequences” program. The session was videotaped and posted on Facebook.
“You can have the ultimate experience … you can be in this body bag,” Colvin said as she opened up a body bag in her courtroom. “And the only way somebody will know you are in here is by this tag that’ll have your name on it."
“Listen to me. The way you are going, you will go to jail," she said.
A sheriff’s lieutenant said the youths in the video session had been involved in “property damage, stealing cars and smoking marijuana.”
The strong words continued.
“I am so tired of seeing people who look like you and I (African-Americans) come into my courtroom, and I have to sentence them to prison,” Colvin said. “And then you hear the fussing on TV about African-Americans being in the prison system. Well guess what, if you don’t do what it takes to go there, you won’t be a part of it.”
At one point, both the judge and one of the youths needed tissues when her speech got emotional.
“I don’t even know you all personally, but I love each and every one of you,” Colvin said. “And I don’t want you to come in my courtroom and I have to sentence you as an adult at the age of 17.”
Watch the video below.