650 juvenile cases are tried each year in Brazos County. It's an increase that's forced the District Attorney's Office to go from having a part-time prosecutor to two full-time prosecutors trying juvenile cases. Now local lawyers are trying to curb that number as they step out of the courtroom and into the classroom.
Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner spends most of his days at the Brazos County Courthouse, but Wednesday he took the suit, tie, and his experience into a College Station Gymnasium.
"When I was growing up kids might get into fights, but it was with their hands. Now weapons are available," Turner said. "Drugs are hitting our schools at younger and younger ages. There's just a lot out there young people are facing."
It's Turner's first year to join members of the Bar Association in their annual Junior Judges Program. For five years local attorneys have hit Bryan schools, telling kids the consequences of making bad decisions. Wednesday the program was given to College Station students for the first time.
"We see this everyday, everyday, it's a real tragedy," Defense Attorney Lane Thibodeaux said.
Thibodeaux frequently defends juveniles. He, along with the other attorneys involved, wants less young people coming through their offices.
And the program just may be working. The fifth grade Cypress Grove students sat, listened intently, and spoke openly about what they had learned.
"Just don't do drugs because they can hurt you real bad," Sydney Wiesepape said. "If it's one of my friends I'll be real sad," Michael Clouston said.
And it's these few words of encouragement that prompt the attorney's continued effort.
"We do have to protect society when things get real out of hand," Turner said. "But it's unique because lawyers on both sides are working to put together a package that will put kids on a straighter path."
It’s a path these lawyers want less kids to travel.
The lawyers volunteer their time for the program.