Verda Colvin, a judge in Bibb County, Georgia, is taking it upon herself to teach at-risk children and young adults the consequences of breaking the law. As part of a new program called "Consider the Consequences," Colvin spoke to a group of children, ages 9 to 17, and described what it's like to go to jail. Her horror stories left many of the young listeners in tears.
According to Lawnewz.com the group of youngsters were told to wear prisoner uniforms and take a look inside real prison cells to feel the impact of breaking the law. After the tour of the cell, Judge Colvin broke down the dangers of life on the inside:
Colvin spared few details when discussing the potential dangers of violence and rape in prison, saying, "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."
Colvin then took out a body bag and told the audience that life of crime and gang affiliation can carry fatal consequences. "The only way someone will know who you are in here is by this tag with your name on it," she said as she showed the white body bag to the group. She then softened, "The fact you're shedding tears means you want to be better and do better. Do it. The only person stopping you, is you."
Colvin then lamented on Black incarceration in America. "I am sick and tired of seeing people who look like you and I come in my courtroom, and I have to sentence them to prison," she 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 get there, you won't be a part of it."
She adds, "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 then expressed her hope for the young audience. "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."
The participants in the program have already had run-ins with law enforcement, local officer Ellis Sinclair told 3WMAZ, adding that "property damage, stealing cars, smoking marijuana" are just some of the incidents that led to their enrollment. He added that the program was created to "try to get them to understand that the road that they're on right now is not the road that they want to be on, [and] that the things that they're doing can either cause them to either be in jail or wind up being in somebody's cemetery."
Following the experience, the children were asked to write an essay describing what they had learned, as well as an apology letter to their families regarding their past offenses.
The school-to-prison pipeline is something that impacts Black communities all over America. Listen to Kevin Powell break down the pipeline that people like Powell and Judge Colvin are trying to combat:
(Photo: Paul Burns/Blend Images/Corbis)