Watching television at home, Jasmine watches as the police arrest a suspect for the fire on the 57 bus. The news only shows the boy’s back, but Jasmine “knows her baby as soon as she sees him.” She calls Kaprice and immediately confirms that Richard has been arrested. Then she calls “everyone she can think of—Richard’s father, his probation officer, the police station.” No one knows where Richard is, so she waits for him to call. Instead of Jasmine, however, Richard calls his father. Jasmine won’t be allowed to see her son for six days, Slater writes, and by that time, the district attorney will have already charged Richard as an adult and released his name to the press.
Jasmine’s reference to Richard as her “baby” cements the fact that Richard is still a child, and should not be charged, tried, or punished as an adult. As a minor, Richard is Jasmine’s responsibility, yet she is denied access to him during this critical time. Keeping a mother from her child would likely be viewed as inhumane in many other circumstances, and in this situation, Slater contends, keeping Richard from his mother proves to be detrimental.