A Georgia judge reduced a courtroom full of youths to tears last month while delivering a speech on the brutal realities of prison life.
“Somebody raping you in the middle of the night, and there’s nothing you can do but just lay there because guess what, everybody got to get their turn,” Judge Verda Colvin said.
Colvin’s powerful speech was a part of “Consider the Consequences,” a scared-straight program offered at Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. The purpose of the program is to get young people ages 9 to 17 to think soberly about what jail life is like to discourage them from viewing it as option for themselves.
The program requires participants to wear jumpsuits and spend time in actual jail cells. But after all of that, it was Colvin’s talk that finally caused many to break down.
“Stop acting like you’re trash, and putting pictures of yourself on the Internet,” Colvin told the young female participants.
Early on in her speech, the judge pulled out a body bag to show attendees where a life of crime and violence could land them.
“I am sick and tired of seeing people who look like you and I [black] come in my courtroom, and I have to sentence them to prison,” Colvin said. “And then you hear them 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. You already know the game. If you know they [the police] come into your community more than they do in other communities, then guess what? You’ve got a heads up. So that means you’ve got to do what’s right, right?”
Colvin’s tough love talk appears harsh on paper, but the actual speech was coupled with a tone of genuine compassion and hope.
"Be somebody. Anybody can be nothing — It doesn't take anything to be nothing. Be something," she said.
At the end of her speech, Colvin offered a final exhortation for her guests: That they might go on to be the best people they can be so that they never have to meet in her courtroom again.
“You are special, and you are uniquely made, and nobody else can do what you’re supposed to do in this world. Nobody else. And if you don’t do it, we won’t have it.”
Bibb County Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin brings a courtroom full of Consider the Consequences participants to tears and all she does is tell the truth. If you would like more information on how to enroll your child in the no-cost monthly program, you can call Lieutenant Ellis Sinclair with the Bibb Sheriff’s Office Outreach at 478-803-2701. #BCSOStrong #BCSOPRIDEPosted by Bibb County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Front page photo courtesy of Shutterstock.