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Chapter 39

“Hi, Matt,” Mary said, answering her cell phone on the first ring after recognizing the number of Robby’s therapist. She hoped he didn’t detect her anxiety.

“Hey, Mary. You can get that anxious tone out of your voice, everything is going well.”

“Oh, good. He has so much on the line here. I really want him to do well at the program.”

“I think we’re making real progress. We took him off the anti-depressants and he is maintaining a stable mood. He’s been able to discuss his fear about not meeting grandma’s expectations. He’s still struggling with abandonment issues related to his parents, but he’s moving forward. Overall, I give him A for effort and improvement.”

“That’s great news. I can’t thank you enough. I didn’t expect any behavior problems but I was worried about him opening up and talking about past trauma.”

“Listen, there’s one more thing. The real work that needs to be done at this point is family work. The staff doesn’t believe Robby is posing a threat. We think he should be in intensive family therapy in his community. Robby’s unit has a couple of outings this month. Pizza and bowling one night, another a movie at the local theater. He did great. We’re not suggesting that he not be without the oversight of the Department of Juvenile Justice. He just doesn’t meet criteria to be an inpatient any longer. It’s time for him to move on, especially when he’s working so hard.”

“Sounds like he’s really come along. I know the perfect therapist for the family. Maybe if he was released on extended home detention and probation, the Department and State would be satisfied. Let me check with his judge.”

If she could whistle, it would be a happy little tune. She was humming off key as she walked towards Kristin’s office. She bumped into Raphael coming off the escalator, brownie in hand.

“Is that for me?”

“I know about the chocolate midafternoon slump.” He smirked.

“Very funny, but also very true. I’m actually on my way to Kristin’s office. The therapist from Robby’s psychiatric placement called with great news about his progress and wanted to confirm it was okay for him to be released to the community this month under strict supervision and with in home treatment in place.”

“Released?” He was all business now.

“Robby’s therapist states that Robby doesn’t meet residential criteria any longer. With safeguards of home detention, and probably electronic monitoring and probation, he should be safe in the community. The staff feels it will be beneficial. Also, you’d probably be surprised to know that Robby’s taking high school classes and may be able to skip eighth grade when he’s released.”

“That’s just great, Mary. Now we are sending kids who stab and almost kill cops and try to blow up a school back out to the community after three months. I’m happy everyone is taking the sanction part of his sentence so seriously.”

She took a deep breath, careful not to show her surprise and anger. “Look, Raphael. You know Robby has never been a behavioral problem. There is a low risk of escape or to public safety. I think it will be beneficial for Robby, for a number of reasons.”

“Please ask the judge to bring it up in open court. I’m going to strongly object to any release. He would not be released if he was in a real commitment program. He absolutely should not be getting special privileges.”

“He’s not getting…” she began, but couldn’t finish. Raphael was not being reasonable. Is this because of the law and order platform he’s planning for his judicial campaign?

She cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “Okay, I’ll ask Kristin to set the court’s own motion on it for later today. Or do you need more time?”

“Today will be fine. Robby’s lawyer is in the courthouse on another case this afternoon, so it will work out.”

Then he softened his tone. “Mary, this is another one of those situations where you should have come to me first and not ambush me with something that has such potential for negative consequences.”

What? “Whoa. You can stop right there. It’s one thing to go over personal information with you first. But this is my job. I’m not going to act any differently because we are in a relationship. I think this field trip is a good idea from a professional point of viewand the professionals at his program think it is, too. The point is rehabilitation. You know he’s not a public safety risk at this point.”

“Oh, right. Potential cop killers are clearly not a safety risk.”

Mary heard the sarcasm. “Let’s just end this discussion until court.”

She turned away abruptly and tried to slow her breathing as she walked through the doors of judicial reception to the secure chambers and Kristin’s office. What was he thinking? His sarcasm and the anger of his comments were out of proportion to the situation. His attack was personal. It felt like he wanted to manage her. She brushed away a tear, not ready to end the relationship but knowing they’d need to face up to the problem.

Kristin saw the tears. “What’s wrong? Is it your family?”

“No, nothing like that. I just had a heated disagreement with Raphael about a situation with Robby. It felt like a personal attack more than a professional concern.”

“What’s going on with Robby?”

Mary filled Kristin in on his progress and the request for community placement.

“Well, that seems to be in line with the original plan. To let the program made a recommendation. But we really shouldn’t discuss it off the record. I’ll handle it on the motion calendar this afternoon.” Kristin made a note, then rose to put her hand on Mary’s arm.

“ It seems like Robby’s problems are a lot easier to solve than Raphael’s,” she smiled.

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