Richard can still have his sentence reduced to five years with good behavior. If his conduct is good until his eighteenth birthday, the judge will reduce his sentence, and he will be able to stay in the juvenile system. Still, any number of things could count against his conduct, Du Bois warns, then Richard will go to prison. “And for what?” Du Bois asks. “Protecting the community by making this kid into a real gangster?”
Du Bois argues that the community is not protected by sending Richard to prison. In prison, Richard will be surrounded by true offenders, and this environment is likely to criminalize him in the process. Du Bois also suggests that it not only bad behavior on Richard’s part that will count against his conduct—the mere perception of bad behavior, even a simple misunderstanding, could mean that Richard will serve his time in an adult facility.