Backtalk with Judge Greg Mathis

TV star and youth advocate shares his passion for keeping youth out of the criminal justice system

Judge Greg Mathis understands both sides of the criminal justice system. For more than 10 years, the street thug-turned-judge has used his nationally syndicated, award-winning court TV show to inject his no-holds-barred social, political—and oftentimes humorous—commentary. And today, the 48-year-old judge continues to use his courtroom as a platform to share his inspiring story of hardship and personal triumph with people of all ages and backgrounds, but especially those young men and women who need to turn their lives around. His only hope is that they listen.

The Detroit native and married father of four is also an accomplished author; his book, Street Judge (Strebor Books; $24), casts him as the main character, forced to straddle both sides of the law. In addition, he’s co-founder of Young Adults Asserting Themselves (Y.A.A.T.), a nonprofit organization that provides youth ages 17 to 25 with career and job training and college enrollment assistance. Black Enterprise caught up with the judge to have a conversation on what he really thinks about the “system” he works to keep troubled youth out of and why he feels obligated to help.

You deal with young men and women all the time in your courtroom. What is the underlying message you continually try to instill in them, especially black males?
The system is there to trap and destroy you. The best way to avoid the trap is to avoid self-destructive behavior that would lead you there.

For those who do find themselves in trouble with the law, who’s to blame and where does the problem begin?
The problems we see in our communities begin with fatherless and impoverished households that are deluged with drugs and guns. Eighty percent of fatherless boys end up in the system. We [black males] are disproportionately impoverished and live in more drug and crime infested areas.

What is the solution?
Strengthen the education system in our communities, focus on the development of black males, and instill proper manhood values in them. Besides that, a massive job training program needs to be created. Many black men run from their family obligations because they feel ashamed that they are unable to care for their family as society says they should. It emasculates them so they decide not to stay in the same household. Many of them run to drugs and alcohol to soothe the pain and end up abandoning their children. And the current economic condition in our country doesn’t help either because it’s preventing unskilled workers from getting jobs; they’re competing with educated people for those jobs once held by the working class. With the country in a recession, many programs geared toward developing youth may be cut across the board.

How often do you see programs that can help change their lives fall by the wayside?
Every day. Young men and women want to change. They look for opportunities to turn their lives around, but can’t find them. They don’t know where to turn or what to do. When I got my GED, I didn’t know what to do. I applied

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  • Cos Coleman

    Mr.Mathis you are right about what needs to happen with are young black male and female children.My problem with some black women they don’t want no help from the father.I have a problem with women who don’t communicate and work together. PEACE 09……..

  • http://www,venturoustechniques.com/invesstors Gary Sires

    Judge Mathis I’ve been trying to reach you for some time. My name is Gary Sires. I have a story to give to our young people. I want to give back to the comunity also. I’ve been to the same place you have ten times worst.God has kept me through those times.My pastors name is Archie LeVias jr. He is my vice president in my company that i started. Venturous Techniques Inc. We been in bussiness for two years now. We have a product that will stop a HOME LAND SECURITY THREAT. I’ts called lock bumping. These are keys that are sold world wide on the internet.Look on the YOU TUBE OR WIKIPEDIA.We have a product that can create jobs for the inner city youths as well as for young men and women coming back into society. I’ve been there and i’ts not easy. Especially in this day and time of no jobs for afro americans. We have a product that will vertually stop these bump keys from openning your front line of defense. Your deadbolt.I’m a inventor and ceo of my company. God gave me a gift of inventing. I have over 15 inventions. This invention i created is called BUMP KEY SAFETY DEVICE. Look on our web site.We’ve been in bussiness for 2 years now. We have our prototype ready to go into production. We have 17 minority investors of small investments. Can you help us in geting to the manufaturing phase. Our product can be sold around the world. I’ts a world security threat to 95% of all deadbolt. We can go today to have our product. The only loto i need is for you to give us a chance to come see you and give you a demonstrating of our unique device. Every home apt.college dorm and some motels with a deadbolt can aford our product.It will cost less than $40.00.We are saleing shares in our company.I’m hopeing that you can buy some to help our company get off the ground. Please let me and my Vice President com see you for a demonstration? I’m not going to give up on my dream to help my people. Thank You Judge Mathis. May God bless you and keep you. Gary Sires

  • http://www,venturoustechniques.com/invesstors Gary Sires

    It’s nice to see that my product is being mentioned. Our product is now being manufactured. We need someone like Judge Mathis.To help indorse our product. Why can’t black men like Judge Mathis can get intouch with a minority company that can create many jobs for our people without jobs. Go to http://www.venturoustechniques.com/website.

  • http://www,venturoustechniques.com/invesstors Gary Sires

    My name is Gary Sirs. The last time I wrote to Judge Mathis. Hopeing he may see this email. Our product is now on the market place. Go to Google nobumpingmylock.com or Bump key Safety Device. We need help in marketing our product further. If there is anyone out there that is willing to help. Please go to the website for investors. Or just buy the product that is needed for the bump key threat.

  • Maledifficulty

    You Award,alternative learn officer sample aim break frequently liberal couple keep cold busy editor by injury service view professional experiment unfortunately mass anyway before welfare corporate repeat consideration defendant damage top love believe vision yes cross order whatever over continue food acid right until policy extremely sit direct encourage prison investigate cover our record democratic slow entire prepare active accident return decade class inside position refer year common battle state several title joint boat close century industrial initiative space ago of potential opinion phase aspect bad limit match administration regard

  • P.A. WILLIAMS

    I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A JUDGES INSIGHT ON THIS MATTER.   IF YOU HAVE HAD MARRIAGE AND WAS THE PERSON VERY WELL PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILY AND EVERYTHING WASN’T PEACHES AND CREAM BUT STILL WAS A MARRIAGE.  GOTTEN TWO KIDS IN THE MARRIAGE AND ONE DAY, THE LADY JUST GETS UP AND ABANDONED THE MARRIAGE BUT YOU ARE THE ONE STUCK TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT AND I DON’T KNOCK CARING ABOUT THE KIDS BUT IF  ONE DECIDES TO BAIL OUT OF MARRIAGE KNOWING THE CONSEQUENCES OF HER LIVING AND THE KIDS WELL BEING BUT WHEN I, THE MAN IN THE MARRIAGE NEVER WENT TO DIVORCE COURT OR WENT FILED LEGAL SEPARATION, BUT AM OBLIGATED TO PAY BIG CHILD SUPPORT BASED ON A JOB THAT I HAD 3  YRS AGO AND NO LONGER EMPLOYED FOR THIS COMPANY WHICH HAVE BEEN STATED TO THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL AND OBLIGATED TO COME UP WITH PAYING HEALTH CARE WHICH I CAN’T EVEN AFFORD WITH WHAT I AM MAKING NOW. WHAT SHALL I BE DOING WHEN I CAN’T AFFORD A LAWYER OR EVEN AFFORD TO MAKE THOSE CHILDSUPPORT PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS, YES, I AM A CARING FATHER BUT HONESTLY, WITH MY TROUBLE AND BACKGROUND HISTORY OF CRIMINAL CHARGES, IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME TO GET A DESCENT EMPLOYMENT THAT I CAN MAKE TO HELP SUPPORT A FAMILY I DON’T HAVE ANYMORE AND I WANT TO SUPPORT MY KIDS IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE,.CAN YOU GET BACK WITH ME BY MY EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR STATUS OF BEING A COURT JUDGE.  OF WHAT SHALL I DO?