tv Lockup Special Investigation MSNBC September 7, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PDT
are you high? on marijuana? >> no. >> when was the last time you smoked? >> i don't know. >> what do you mean you don't know? >> i don't know. i got to try to do better. not just for me but for, like, my family. i don't want them to see me in a place like this anymore. >> i just seem to fall back into the same thing, criminal recklessness, assault with a deadly weapon, having no permit. >> how did you end up doing the armed robbery? >> walking by the liquor store. i was swearing at her, cussing at her, i told her she had a certain amount of seconds to open the cash register or i'm going to shoot her.
i ain't going to lie. this is the hardest 30 days i've ever did. i don't know why, but it's just -- it's been driving me nuts. i don't know. >> because you're used to having a little bit more freedom than what you have here. >> i think when i went to like the adult thing and then came back here here it's like -- oh, i feel like i'm being strangled. it's just -- i don't know. i have no clue. i don't know what it is. it's like time ain't going by
like it used to. but -- >> hey. >> 18-year-old ricky pizano is a regular in the juvenile justice system. over the past four years he has spent a total of 266 days here in lake county juvenile. and more recently another 16 months at a residential placement facility in nevada. when he didn't return to his placement in nevada after a weekend home pass, ricky was picked up on a bench warrant. >> one of my boys, he got shot. i had to take him to the hospital. they ran my name at the hospital. i still had a warrant for placement. >> though he is now 18 and technically an adult, he will have to face the juvenile court one final time.
>> when i think about sitting in the juvenile. i'm 18. as soon as i get out of here i'm on my own. a lot of younger kids are going home to mommy and daddy. i'm going back to the streets. i ain't going to lie or tell a fairytale. i'm going back to the streets. >> ricky began looking for kinship and guidance on the streets before he was even a teenager. >> my dad was incarcerated. i didn't know him. my mom got incarcerated when i was like 8 or 9. i was hanging out with older people, 17, 18 years old. smoking weed, robbing, doing whatever i had to put food in my stomach. >> with over a decade of experience shooting inside the criminal justice system, msnbc producers know that when things get loud in lockup you can bet there's something serious going on behind the noise.
this time, however, it's just a few kids in the delta wing blowing off some steam. repeat offenders and known troublemakers are sometimes placed in the charlie delta wing. here staff can keep a closer eye on kids who have a tendency to lash out. >> when it gets loud it just gets loud. you can't really stop them. ask them nicely, please, but in the end it's up to them whether they want to shut up or not. [ screaming ] >> those four walls, they will get to you. and they will always win. you can beat on your door, beat on the walls all you want. in the end they're always going to win. no matter what you do, how hard
you scream, how much you cry, it doesn't matter. >> ricky is a very frustrating case. for as minimal of education as he's completed he's really a very intelligent young man. >> veteran residential supervisor jamie badanish has spent 22 years working with kids at lake county juvenile. she says juveniles like ricky are especially perplexing. >> he has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. he's a very personable young man, yet he's gang through and through. the sad thing is, ricky, you are no dummy by any means of the word. you are no dummy. you just can't stay in one place long enough to accomplish it. i think that ricky is, he's just destined to be part of the gang. i'm quite sure he's got some right now. i think he likes giving orders to the so-called foot soldiers
and so forth and so on. how long you been now? how old were you when you started? >> 11. >> 11? >> i'll never be ashamed of nothing i've done. i was put in the situation. i made the best out of the situation as a young kid. what else can i -- i can't get a job. i was 14 years old. i can't get no job. i did what i had to do. >> reporter: it's really unfortunate. there's still that small portion of him that would like to live on the right side of the law as opposed to the wrong side of the law. >> i look now like, wow, like pictures and stuff. i'm seeing how skinny i was and like wow, that was me. i was hanging out with all the bigger older cats doing all the stuff the adults do. not saying every adult does it. doing all the stuff that the street scene, and i was so young, little, i'm like, i'm surprised i made it through it. like, just realizing the advantage that people had over me.
>> how old were you when you first came to us? 12? >> 14. >> 14? was that when you did the armed robbery? >> yeah. >> i'm not trying to incriminate you but how did you do the armed robbery? who came up with that? >> me. i was walking by the liquor store. my pockets was empty. so i went and dropped my stuff at a buddies and ran. >> at 14 years old. >> yep. i told her she had a certain amount of seconds to open the cash register or i'm going to shoot her. i probably would have shot her easily. very easily. that's just the way i thought. i didn't care about myself. i didn't care about no one else. >> you think you have the ability to give the street up? don't you get tired of living that [ bleep ], man? >> yeah, i do. to tell you the truth i get sick of it. >> wow, miracles do happen. you've never been hardhearted. that's the thing. you're not a hardhearted kid.
>> ricky pizano is one of the hundreds of thousands of kids nationally who find themselves behind bars. the ones who wind up in the indiana juvenile justice system have a better chance than some others. not all states look at their juvenile populations with an eye on rehabilitation. >> that's what's really beautiful about the juvenile code in the state of indiana. we have -- oh my gosh, an arsenal of things we can, and services we can provide to children and families to really, you know, mend all their issues and you just keep trying. >> but there is a limit to what the courts can do when a juvenile continuously reappears at intake, seemingly worse off than the time before. >> michael, shane, you got your haircut. where is your glasses? i would never recognize you. you're in trouble again? you see somebody so young and innocent in one picture. and then it looks like they lived 20 different lives in such a short time.
that's where we ask questions about the family life, health problems, drugs. are you high? when was the last time you smoked? >> i don't know. >> what do you mean you don't know? >> i don't know. >> yesterday? >> no. >> today? >> no. >> last week? >> no. >> for some reason i'm not believing you. >> on a september afternoon, when most teenagers are sets into their new school year, 17-year-old michael is back in juvenile for the third time on suspicion of burglary. the same charge for which he's already on probation. >> i'm sober? >> you're sober? there's a difference between being sober and high. >> every child has a story. we all have a story. in our life. if you can get little pieces and bits -- it's like a big puzzle. does your mother know you're here? >> yeah. >> where did they arrest you at? >> my house. >> by the time they get arrested by the police, they give us a
piece of the puzzle. >> i can't ask you if you did this or not, by law i can't. i'm going to ask you questions about your school, did you do drugs, your family life. try to get a bigger piece of the puzzle. i mean, what's going on with you? just running with the wrong crowd? >> i don't know. >> not every kid that comes through here is cooperative. i could tell you look a little ticked right now. just your facial expression. only really truly that child knows how they're feeling. we can guess. questioning. and watching their nonverbal and their, how they hold their head up, how they answer the questions. but really only they know really how they feel. you're not angry about being here? >> yeah. i'm angry. no one wants to get arrested. >> you know you're on probation, right? it allows us to peek inside so
we can give information to the next person. once the child leaves us, probably going to be five different people attached to this case at least. and the judge depends on the intake department to make sure we're reporting accurately. we're responsible for that. >> i'm not like a bad kid. i just make dumb decisions. i just don't want to be here. i want to go home. it's not a nice place to be here, you know. it's not supposed to be a nice place. >> signs that you're a threat or that you're not going to returned, you're going to stay locked up here like a lot of the people we've been talking with over the last couple days. >> in illinois at age 17 you're considered an adult, is that right? >> yes, ma'am. >> you you were three months in the cook county jail. >> yes, ma'am. >> how did that work for you? >> it wasn't nice. i woke up. >> welcome to adulthood.
you know you're on probation right? >> 17-year-old michael is back in detention for the third time on suspicion of burglary. >> they have you right now on formal probation for burglary for the same thing that you're being charged with today. do you understand that? >> yeah. >> this doesn't look good. do you realize that? you're looking at me kind of hard, and i get that. >> what? >> just your eyes. you're looking at me like you don't want me to talk anymore. >> that's all right. >> it's all right? >> police, they come after me because of my past history. it's easier for them to point a finger at someone who's done something like this before. you can't blame them, because i did put them in a situation, but it does kind of suck. >> michael is on the brink of his 18th birthday, and
approaching adulthood is a dangerous place to be for a juvenile repeat offender. >> i would ask the court please allow this young man one more opportunity. he understands the next time he's in trouble he will be in the adult court. >> a person turns 18 there's not at least in the juvenile court system a lot of choices for us to make. because everyone's looking, oh, we have this little window of time to work with them. it's not long enough to effectuate a change. >> i just don't know at 18 if he sits here for three or four months, i don't know what that's going to do for him. >> rehabilitation programs can take a year or more to complete. so that option appears to be off the table for michael. >> when you're 17 3/4, there's not a lot of resources out there. and there's probably not a lot of people that want to take a chance on you for that short period of time. >> when you were arrested in february of '08 for burglary and they gave you 90 days, 80 days are stayed and you did a remaining ten days here.
and you got released. which means if you get into anymore trouble it's really up to your magistrate to decide what they're going to do with you. if they don't take advantage prior to that to the services this court offers, they're screwed. i know that sounds very cold, but realistically that's the way it is. they will only be a number. the adult system will not coddle you. you won't be held by your hand to make sure you do your substance abuse program or do your family counseling or take your medication. all of that is done and over. >> this is my second chance, you know, for me to do right. if i don't, when i turn 18, that's a felony. that's going to stay with me the rest of my life. i have to try to do better. not just for me, but for, like, my family. i don't want them to see me in a place like this anymore. i told myself i didn't want to come back the first time, and
here i am again. detainee ricky pizano is also facing being sent to the adult system. ricky's previous stint at lcjc ended with him being placed in a long-term rehabilitation program in nevada. since then he ran away from placement, turned 18, and did time in adult prison. now he's once again back at lcjc, facing the music for running away. >> how much longer did you have before you would have completed? >> like four months. >> that's it? >> i was already there for like 17. >> at that point, four months is a drop in the bucket, dude. >> i was only out for a month. after a month i caught a pistol charge in chicago. i got sentenced to a year in illinois' department of corrections. i've been on parole since then.
juvenile is, yeah, a little better than adult. when you get to adult it's nasty. if you don't like rats and roaches, just stay away. i got an anger issue. >> you have control issues. you want control. the rankings, you know. you've got a little bit of rank now, don't you? >> i can't speak on that. >> i just don't know if he'll ever make it. i think it's unfortunate. i think he's got a lot of potential. i think he could really achieve anything he chose to if he applied himself in a positive way. >> actually the night before i came in here i got shot at. i almost lost my life. pulled into a gas station. i had some buddies in the car. as i was pulling out the gas station, they shot at us. one of my boys, he got shot and i had to take him to the hospital. they ran my name at the hospital
and they still had my warrant from running from placement. >> ricky has been locked up at lcjc for more than a month this time. at his court hearing tomorrow he will learn his fate in the juvenile system. even though he is 18, the judge can still keep him detained for not completing his juvenile detainment or she could waive him across the street to the adult jail. >> i've already been to adult prison. i've been there and seen it at 17 years old. i've been with people locked up for a 15, down for murder. all that stuff. i've been there. i've seen everything. i see what it's like. i don't want to be like that. >> you know, tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day because i really -- this is one that i really can't even tell you that i have a gut feeling for. it's going to be interesting. because the judge is going to be a little limited in what she's going to be able to do with him. frankly, i really don't know. i'm kind of anxious to see that, myself. rock 'n' roll. >> i'm ready to get out. i'm 18 and i've got goals set
you guys can stand up. >> 17-year-old michael is on the way to court where his judge will have to consider his past offenses to decide whether he should be released or stay behind bars. >> they said that it's not looking good for me, and that i might have to serve, like, an 80-day commitment maybe. >> weren't you just here not that long ago? >> like, in march. >> what are you doing back visiting? you missed us? huh? >> no, not that much. >> are you on probation? >> yeah, i'm on probation. >> so what's going to happen? >> i don't know. >> man, you guys got to start
thinking. >> it's nerve-racking talking to the judge because you plan stuff, like, right before you go, you know, you think after everything you're going to say. when you're actually there it doesn't came out the way you thought it would. it's nerve-racking. >> at the lake county juvenile detention center, kids who are almost 18 are walking a tightrope within the juvenile justice system. >> it's a serious matter for this court to decide that it's going to invest itself in a child. and i don't see that there's going to be a lot of bang for our buck. to be perfectly honest. >> the closer the kid is to 18, the less the judge has at her finger tips for a juvenile who continues to re-offend. for some, the next stop will be across the street, adult jail. >> i try and let them know, it's rough over there. they see it. when reality hits and go through them doors and look up there. that's when it finally kicks in.
>> i will tell them you ain't been through the stuff i've been through. prison's a lot different than this. you don't have d.o.s and stuff around you. you're locked in a cage with about 100 other criminals. rapists, murders. >> it's like i know what i got to deal with. i know what could happen. it's nothing that you can be afraid of. you can't live scared. you got to be cautious. you know what i'm saying? not to mess up. not to let things like that happen to you. >> like ricky and michael, miguel is nearing his 18th birthday. though they all are at the end of the road in the juvenile system, the only thing common about miguel is his juvenile record. >> criminal recklessness, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of marijuana. >> he's probably been here at least i'd say about six or seven times. >> had no gun permit. had no gun permit.
bunch of violations of probation. >> and every time he's come, he's come with heavy charges. >> criminal mischief. another criminal reckless in there somewhere. >> once he gets here he's a whole different individual. he's focused. he's getting visitation. he's reading good books. then what i like about him is he shares his books. so he tries to help the other guys that's in the hallway that he sees that's going down the wrong path. >> i've been going to college since i was 16. like, the second time i got locked up, i was there for 15 months. i got my ged there. i took the act test. i did well. they sent my transcripts out. i got accepted at purdue. >> that's one thing i can say. the kid's never been in here for missing school or anything like that. i think he makes like, as, bs. he'll really focused and he sees the future, but he'll tell me, it's just where i'm from. where i'm from people are not used to be successful.
two weeks after he gets released he's right back in that jungle. he changes. >> now it's like i can do good in school, it's just, i can't be free long enough to finish a semester or just complete a class. >> it's the unusual or maybe never case that someone would just go out and start committing crimes and having this great school record. but it's hard to be good if you've already had a bet toward getting into trouble or all your friends are the type that are getting into trouble. and so it just becomes a way of life. in some neighborhoods it's almost like do unto others before they do it to you. >> i'm going to finish college. and i'm going to get my degree. probably go further than that and try to get my masters. my mom got her masters. she's going for her doctorate. so you know, got to do something like that.
my parents are beautiful people. if you meet my parents, you would never think i would be going through the stuff like i've done in my life. it's not on them. my mother she's always been there for me. and my dad, he just gets tired of this. he's like if you get locked up again, don't expect me to come see you. i can't do it, he said. he can't see me in a place like this. my friends love me. they always been there for me. they never turn their back on me or nothing like that. >> you can't live someone's life for them. you can only give them the tools to maybe live their life in a different way. hopefully a better way. so it is frustrating when they don't take advantage of what we've provided to them. >> it's got to be my last time. i'm tired of all this. i've been tired of it for a long time. >> it can be frustrating. it gets frustrating when you pick up the paper and you know you put in a lot of hard work to a kid, and he or she is about to do 20 or 25 years in prison. it becomes frustrating. >> when you think about it, you
can't gang bang for your whole life. you can't be a gangster. that's not going to get you nowhere. you're going to have to grow up one day. you're going to need to get a job. it's going to be harder to get a job. i'm not somebody who's going to fail. once i set my mind to do something, it's going to get done. ready to hit it? rock 'n' roll. >> i'm ready to get out. that's what i'm ready to do. >> today 18-year-old ricky pizano hopes he will leave the juvenile justice system behind. after spending the previous months locked up at lcjc and the last four years in and out of detention, placement, and prison, he is hoping for a new beginning. >> i'm 18. i've got goals set for myself. goals that i was trying to achieve while i was out there. this has just put a big pause on it. i hope the judge sees that and she lets me get out. >> the stakes are high this time for ricky to get out. he's on track to get his ged in just a few months. he needs that piece of paper to
take advantage of the welding trade he learned while at his last placement facility. >> if he can come out of placement and he has a trade, if any of the kids have a trade, then it makes them marketable, it means they can survive and support themselves without having to turn to a life of crime to do that. >> i can't believe how tall you've got to be considering how short you were. you know, i really do believe there's a big part of rick that would like to turn the tide. would like to continue on with the welding, would like to minimally get his ged if not his actual high school diploma. would like to live on the right side of the law. but the flip side of that is that's a lot of work. you think anybody's going to be here for you? >> i don't know. i really don't know. i don't think so. >> so, you know, it's a lot easier to go out and sell a few drugs if you don't get caught, make big money, as opposed to go welding, put on all that hot
gear and put in 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, whatever is required, i think a lot of it will probably depend on the influences that he comes across if he, you know, ends up with a girlfriend that is a positive influence, that could be -- that might be the turning point, too. you know, one never knows. given he's truly going himself. i don't know if he can do it. did you have any idea of what might occur? >> they said maybe 30 days, 60 days. i was like, i don't want either. i'm like, i want out. it is going to be a bit of an uphill battle to show the court if the judge releases you you're not going to engage in the same type of behavior. a lot of that will fall on how well you come across.
i've got four shackles already. so i need 13 chairs. >> it's monday morning at lake county juvenile, and court is back in session. the kids are shackled and walked from the detention center over to the adjacent court building where they nervously sit and await their turn to see the judge. both 17-year-old michael and 18-year-old ricky have been at lake county detention center many times. as they await yet another hearing in front of the judge, they are placed in the holding
cell area where they prepare for their time in court. >> the juvenile detention center is just that. it's a place where we hold kids until we essentially figure out what we want to do with them next. what kind of services would be in the best interest of that kid in the community? >> kevin elkins has been ricky's probation officer for years. >> did he have any idea of what might occur? >> he said maybe 30-day commitment, 60-day commitment. i was like, i don't want either. i want out. >> i've talked to him since he's been out here. still has his mindset on wanting to get his ged. going to welding. that was his vocation at the placement facility. he still has a chance to turn his life around, you know, before he gets too deep into the adult system. >> i have things to do. this is putting a pause on it. i have to have my ged by june.
i can't do no 60-day commitment. i have to have my ged by june. or i'm not going to be able to get -- >> ricky is a bright kid. he's not the typical family life. i know his parents weren't the best parents, but his grandmother has done everything she could do for him. >> every time i rest my head under her roof another day i got to live. i was away from the stuff that was getting me in trouble. >> he doesn't need to be on the street trying to make money to survive. if he chooses to, i'm sure she'll provide him with whatever it is to be successful in life. >> she has helped me. she's been here the whole time i've been locked up. i realize she's the one that cares about me. i still have my mind set. i'm trying to do things on my own. i rarely ever let people help me. >> ricardo's a kid that has everything in place for him. time to move on with his life. >> i ain't going to lie, this is the hardest 30 days i've ever did. i don't know why but it's
just -- it's been driving me nuts. i don't know. >> i'm sure the court wants to try to help him. the ultimate goal is to make him productive in society, but i just don't know given, you know, his age and all the opportunities that have been given to him. i really don't -- the judge is really faced with a tough decision. i don't envy her. >> i feel like i'm being strangled. it's just -- i don't know. i have no clue. i don't know what it is, but it's like time ain't going by like it used to. 17-year-old michael is back in detention for the third time. before appearing in front of the judge michael meets with his court-appointed attorney, don ruck. >> how are you? have a seat. you're being charged with
burglary. serious charge particularly given you have a prior charge for burglary that you're on probation for. the purpose of today's court hearing is whether you stay here while these charges against you pend or whether you're released to your mother's custody. the things the court looks at is whether you're a threat to yourself or to the public and whether or not you're likely to return to all future court hearings. if the court finds you're a threat or you're not going to return, you're going to stay locked up. what do you think should happen? >> i think i should be released on house arrest. because i have a job. i'm working. >> many times the kids say here's what i want. as the lawyer, you try to get that result, but you know at the end of the day that that's not the right outcome. because ultimately if you return a child or place a child back into the environment that led the child into the system to begin with, you're fostering the problem. you're not addressing the root problem. >> michael is being held for his alleged involvement in a recent burglary. because of his past history and his refusal to answer police
questions, he was hauled into juvenile on suspicion of involvement. >> you know nothing about the burglary? >> i don't know nothing. >> you don't know who did it or anything like that? >> no. >> all right. because certainly what complicates this whole picture is if this were a first time you'd ever been involved with the system, yeah, it would be a lot easier to say, look, it was a misunderstanding, there was no way in the world this could have happened to you. but we lose that argument given the fact that you're on probation for burglary. >> i was doing good before everything. i had a job. i was getting ready to go back to school. i'm hoping they take that into consideration. >> we have to let the judge know that and make it so she does take it into consideration. okay? all right. hang tight for a little bit. he's 18. he has no education. unless he gets his life together very quickly, then he's headed very a very bleak future. 9m
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what time we going to court? >> i would say probably five or ten minutes. hopefully you'll be there. >> ricky pizano has been in and out of the juvenile justice system his entire teen life. and now he is back in lcjc for running away from the treatment facility he was sent to last time he was here. ricky knows he has reached the end of the line. having recently turned 18, juvenile rehabilitation services are no longer an option. the question is, should he be set free, sent to juvenile prison, or waived to the adult justice system? >> i'm 18. i've got goals set for myself.
goals that i was trying to achieve while i was out there. this has just put a big pause on it, and i hope the judge sees that and she lets me get out. >> well, when a person turns 18 there's not a lot of choices for us to make to plug them into services. because everyone's looking, oh, we have this little time to work with them. it's not long enough to effectuate a change. >> whatever i do, i accept the consequences fully. i did it for a reason. that's just it it. >> this is a matter of ricardo pizano iii. do you admit or deny the allegations? would you like to elicit from him what happened and why he failed to return? >> were you given a home pass to come back to nevada and visit your family here in indiana? >> yes. >> you were scheduled to return to nevada. why didn't you go back? what was it that made you make the poor choice to not return?
>> i was already there for 16 months. it was only, like, a seven or eight-month program. it was my fault that i was there for 16 months. i was messing up when i first got there. i did complete every aspect of the program. sports, vocation, school, i completed everything. i asked when i was going to get released. i was told september 1st, and i just felt like that's -- september 1st, that's another 4 months away. i was like, i've already been here double the time you're supposed to be here, so that's why i ran. >> so why is it the program turned out to be double for you? >> because i wasn't working my program, your honor. i had an anger issue, and i just -- i couldn't control my anger. i couldn't control the things that i was doing. i was just snapping off. sometimes i wasn't taking my medication, and it just -- it caused a real problem for me. >> so you made the decision, then, that you weren't going to go back because you wanted to get out sooner? >> yes, your honor.
>> but you accomplished some things while you were at silver state, did you not? >> yes, your honor. >> i was the highest in my welding class. i was there more than any of the other kids. >> so you learned something while you were in placement? >> yes, i did. >> you said that while you were out after you didn't go back in may of 2008, to quote you, you caught a charge in illinois. >> yes, i did. >> what does that mean you caught a charge? >> i committed another crime. >> okay. and what was that crime? >> unlawful use of a weapon. >> what kind of weapon? >> it was a handgun. >> so you were charged as an adult -- >> as an adult, yes. >> -- because in illinois at age 17 you're considered an adult, is that right? >> yes, ma'am. >> so you were there and three months in the cook county jail. >> yes, ma'am. >> how did that work for you? >> it wasn't nice. i woke up. >> welcome to adulthood, right? >> yep. >> did you learn anything from that experience? >> yes, i did. >> what did you learn? >> i don't ever want to go back to prison again.
>> so what are you going to do to make that doesn't happen? >> hopefully when i -- if i do get released today, take my ged, go to the interview with the iron workers union. if i get the job at the iron workers union, save up my money and do what i have to do to do what every other person does. works every day, start a family. >> is that a possibility? >> yes, it is. >> mr. elkins, i've read your report. the recommendation is he be given credit for time he served and that he be released today. are you agreement with the recommendation here made by the probation officer? >> judge, it really bothers me that this young man is sitting here today. he's had numerous services offered to him by this court. he's 18. he has no education. he has an adult record in another state. he has a serious juvenile record. and unless he gets his life together very quickly i know
after being a prosecutor for 25 years that he's headed for a very bleak future, and it just bothers me to see somebody at 18 walking out of this court that's provided him so many opportunities to change, and he hasn't availed himself to the opportunities. but because there are no further services that the juvenile court can provide him, at this time, i am in agreement with probation's recommendation. >> i'm in agreement with probation's recommendation. he did not walk away from his programs without getting anything out of them. i think he's sincere in wanting to turn himself around. and i also think that the stay in the cook county jail in illinois was an eye-opening experience. i kept telling him, rick, if you keep going the way you're going i'm going to see you across the street over in criminal division. i don't think he got it. i think he gets it now, now that he's had a taste of cook county.
it's strange sitting -- i got in this case three years ago. maybe four. it's strange sitting next to him right now because he's taller than i am. and when the case started out he was taller and bigger than i am, and when the case started out, i dwarfed him. he's grown up quite a bit. while it hasn't been the greatest success in terms of the services provides, i think he did get something out of it. i think since he has good support in his community i believe that there's a good chance that he will not re-offend and hopefully he'll be a productive adult and not find himself, as they say, across the street. >> there's a lot of bumps in the road of life, and hopefully you'll get over those bumps because we're not going to be here to hold your hand anymore.
i think he's sincere in wanting to turn himself around. i also think that the stay in the cook county jail -- >> repeat offender ricky pizano may or may not continue to live a life of crime. what is certain is that he will never appear in juvenile court again. ricky is now 18 years old and an adult in the eyes of the law. therefore, judge bonaventura is out of options when it comes to rehabilitation. she could let him go if she feels he's not a threat to himself or the community. she could send him to juvenile prison, or she might waive him to the adult justice system. >> thank you. i think that listening to your description of him sitting next to you and him being bigger than you really strikes a chord with me and it's really sad. here's a young man who has sort of grown up in our system. by some people's opinions it might be that he failed because he left the program before he
was supposed to. that isn't going to make me give up on children. up until a few weeks ago, that's what he was, a child. just because you reach that magical age does not make you an adult. it's what you do after that with your life that makes you a grownup and a man and an adult. there's a lot of bumps in the road of life. and hopefully you'll get over those bumps. because we're not going to be here to hold your hand anymore. you're going to have to do that by yourself. good luck to you mr. pizano. i hope you get your life turned around and this will be the last time we see you in the court. good afternoon. these hearing is adjourned. >> turning 18 could have meant a trip to the adult prison system. instead, judge bonaventura decides ricky should begin his adult life with a fresh start. >> thank you, god. i got so nervous when they put me on the stand. i got nervous. i got so nervous.
as soon as my lawyer read off the report that my probation officer said he recommends i get released, i was like, wow. me and my probation officer wasn't -- we wasn't like this. we wasn't like that. >> you just won the lottery today. >> yeah. yes. >> i don't want to hear about you doing something stupid. >> you're not going to. i promise you won't. got a girl. got a good girl. i'll be fine. >> after spending four years in and out of detention and the last 34 days locked up, 18-year-old ricky is finally free of the juvenile justice system. >> a new start on life for you so to speak? >> yeah. >> given the way things went today? >> that's the first time the court said something good about me. >> i could have given him more time in our detention center. i think that the taxpayers have spent enough money. he's already being supervised by
another system. he's on parole. hopefully that will give him some, you know, supervision to the extent that he won't go out and re-offend. you know, we can't save everybody. i know that, but you know what, i'm going to keep trying. >> i'm about to be free. even though it's a crummy day. i don't care. i'm so happy. you don't even understand. spent four birthdays locked up. 15, 16th, 17th and 18th. next year i'm going to be at the crib on my birthday. actually getting released from somewhere. >> just goes to show you, you can't sell people short. you never know what's going to happen. you wouldn't have expected most of what occurred this go around, would you? >> yeah. >> see, it just goes to show you. one ricardo pizano. >> thank you. good luck.
if you have any personal problems in this block, people not getting along. we need to talk about it now so we get it straightened out. >> a new inmate struggles with the tough side of the jail. >> they've got me sleeping on the floor. >> another inmate is offered the chance to improve his condition. but mounts a defense anyway. >> kangaroo courts. >> he's never satisfied with anything he gets. >> and -- >> she has made