Comic Book Explains the Law to Kids Who Break It

12.02.10 Lauri Apple

NYC youth under 16 who get arrested now receive copies of I Got Arrested! Now What?, a four-page comic book that explains the juvie justice process without all the confusing legal lingo.

In the book, a fella named Chris spends the night in jail after making some graffiti art where he wasn’t ‘sposed to. Not to spoil the ending, but Chris cleans up his act and avoids getting sent to the upstate gulag. On his journey through jail and Family Court he meets a patient probation officer and a helpful lawyer who gives him solid advice. His mom, Marilyn, comes off really nasty and neglectful at first, but it turns out that she’s just a working-mom who’s trying to assert her boundaries and probably has a lot of other shit to do besides bail Junior out of the slammer.

Overall, the story seems credible but maybe idealistic–everyone is nice and rational and takes direction well, and we know that real life doesn’t always work that way. But sometimes it does! Still prefer cartoons to real life a lot of the time, though.

The book’s a project by the Kids from the Youth Justice Board, a public policy/government/leadership after-school program run by the Center for Court Innovation, and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Get your own copy here.