The next week, the judge acknowledges Richard’s good behavior in court. He has done well at Chad, the judge says, and Richard has behaved with “a level of maturity that he didn’t exhibit on the day of the offense.” Taking Karl’s statement into consideration, the judge reduces Richard sentence to five years, and recommends that he stay within the juvenile system. Jasmine was able to get the day off after all, and she is “relieved” by the judge’s decision. After three years, the progress report is “such a release,” Jasmine says.
When the judge says that Richard’s behavior at Chad shows “maturity” he didn’t exhibit on the 57 bus, he effectively admits that Richard is, like his lawyer had attempted to argue to the court, just a child. Paradoxically, it isn’t until Richard behaves with more maturity that the court finally agrees to punish him as a juvenile rather than an adult.