Of course, their records would be expunged and they would lose the label as being criminals until the next time. Unfortunately, for most of them, there would be a next time and they would move on to another facility where they would serve more time. After that, their records would not be expunged and the label would stick for life. However, in the time I met them, there was a chance, just a chance.
Like every other boy I ever met, they tested limits. They tried to see what they could get away with. They looked for “buttons to push.” Fortunately, I had some experience commanding boys, and I had cop eyes. I was used to saying things once and having people obey. That experience served me well.
I never yelled at them. Just about every week that I visited the detention facility, I would find a new Deputy Probation Officer in training. It was easy to tell which ones would make it and which would not. Yelling was a dead giveaway. You say something once and take action if someone doesn't listen. The boys were smart. They got the message pretty quickly.
I learned very quickly to keep an eye on the clever ones. There's a big difference between “smart” and “clever.” All career criminals are clever. The smart ones quit.
Times being what they are, my willingness to work with the boys raised some suspicions. I was frequently asked by the boys, “How much are you being paid to do this?” “Nothing.” That raised some eyebrows among them and it took a while to earn their trust. No, I wasn't a pedophile. Hell, one of them probably would have slit my throat had I tried anything.
The most important thing they taught me was the duty of a parent. Remember when your mother used to ask, “What would you do if your friends [jump off a cliff/stick their fingers in an electrical socket/eat rat poison]? Whatever? What would you do?” Honestly? You would have done it, too. That's what kids do. Every one of the boys at that detention facility was a member of a gang. They were caught doing exactly the same thing all of their peers were doing. The remarkable thing about them is that they were caught.
Occasionally, I would meet a parent. These boys rarely had two or more than one who had the interest to visit them. Once in a great a parent would tell me that they had moved while their son was incarcerated. Their son had a chance. The others, the ones who returned to the same homes in the same neighborhoods were condemned. The gang was waiting for them. So I labored hoping against all hope that at least one would survive.