Prison Diaries on All Things Considered

Panoramic view of juvenile court
Panoramic view of Judge Jeremiah's family courtroom, Rhode Island Juvenile Court.(See the Quick Time panoramic movie at

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January 16, 2001

Matthew & the Judge:
Juvenile Court Diary

One year ago Judge Jeremiah, a Rhode Island juvenile court judge, and Matthew, a 17 year old repeat offender, were given tape recorders. During that time, 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.

  • Hear the juvenile court diary on All Things Considered. Part 1 | Part 2
  • Read the transcript from the Jan. 2, online chat with inmate John Mills' mother, Brenda Daniels, and the series producer, Joe Richman.

  • Judge JeremiahSometimes it really gets to you. You're trying to put the youngster on the road to recovery. if a child comes back and you let him out and he comes back and you let him out and he comes back a third time, I think you better give up on the child. How many breaks can you give him? You give up.

    --Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr., Family Court, Providence, Rhode Island

    Matthew, age 17. Rhode Island Training School. Providence, Rhode Island.

    Prison Diaries is produced by Joe Richman, creator of the acclaimed Teenage Diaries series and founder of Radio Diaries, Inc., a non-profit production company committed to helping people document their own lives. Associate Producer is Wendy Dorr.

    American RadioWorks is the documentary project of Minnesota Public Radio and NPR News.