Neal Lemery, J.D., a retired judge, is the author of Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains, to be published in December, 2014.
After countless encounters with discouraged young men in his courtroom, one judge finds a new sense of personal fulfillment by mentoring and guiding these boys through the juvenile prison system.
As a judge in rural Tillamook County, Oregon, Neal C. Lemery, JD, watched for years as frustrated, hopeless young men cycled through his courtroom. Many of them ended up in Tillamook’s local juvenile prison. Lemery came to understand the reasons behind their failure: poverty, illiteracy, abuse, and absentee fathers.
Despite disapproval in his community, Lemery began visiting the prison and speaking with these young men. Many were hesitant at first, but slowly their stories began to emerge. Lemery was there to provide personal and legal advice—and often simply to listen. Most of them had never known a positive male role model. Eventually Lemery’s patience and tenderness paid off. As walls came down, new portraits emerged of boys who wanted to be decent, caring, contributing men, but didn’t know how.