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Chapter 2: Juveniles behind Bars
Johnny, 15, breathed a sigh of relief as he stood before the judge in a juvenile courtroom. He narrowly avoided being certified as an adult for his role in the aggravated robbery of a store clerk in his poverty stricken neighborhood. The judge took into account that Johnny is a first-time offender and committed him to a juvenile facility for 12 months. Johnny's mother, Shirley, sat in the back of the courtroom with her head held low during the hearing. She is a single, working mother with four children. At the time of the incident, Shirley was at her part-time job. Johnny was to babysit his siblings, but he chose to sneak out to visit with friends.