Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
Diaries ›

Matthew and the Judge: Juvenile Court Diary

We gave both Judge Jeremiah, a Rhode Island juvenile court judge, and Matthew, a 16-year-old repeat offender, tape recorders. Judge Jeremiah released Matthew early, for good behavior. Two weeks later, Matthew was arrested again for selling drugs. Through their diaries, Matthew and the judge tell the same story from two different sides of the bench.

*This story originally aired on NPR in 2001. Two years later, at the age of 18, and legally an adult, Matthew was released. He had spent his last three birthdays behind bars and he was looking forward to celebrating one at home. But, just a few blocks from his house, a rival drug dealer — a 16-year-old kid — shot him. Matthew was killed a day before his birthday. He would have been 19.

Comments are closed.

You may also like ...


Doing Time: John’s Diary

As a kid, John dreamed of becoming a police officer, but by the age of 17, John had committed more than 75 armed robberies.


Serving 9 to 5: Diaries of Prison Guards

Diaries from officers who work behind bars at Polk Youth Institution.