“Derrick asked to address the court and basically said, ‘I’m tired of going to jail.’ And our response was something like, ‘We’re tired of you breaking the law.’ He said, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll show you that I’m different.'” Judge Larry Goodman, Alameda County Superior Court
I’ve been a social worker for a few years. One thing I can say is most of the people who work for “the system”, be it in corrections, courts, substance abuse clinics or where ever want to see people make a change for the better in their lives. But we do get cynical after seeing the same faces cycle in and out repeatedly. If you been on either side of “the system” you might find it hard to find hope.
Even after all he’d seen Judge Goodman was still able to look at Derrick Bedford and see through the hustler exterior to the potential. Thank God he didn’t give in to cynicism. If he had maybe Derrick would not be living in a different world today as a great husband, father and community member; or helping to make the world a better place by reaching out to young men on the wrong path. Now as unlikely as it might have seemed even to these two men back then, the ex-drug dealer and the judge are close friends.
Change is possible. Sure it involved hard work and sacrifice. Derrick probbably had to cut some folks loose, those who didn’t want or try to change with him. But it can be done.