Actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is helping young prisoners turn their lives around. In a real-life version of the Gridiron Gang, youthful offenders are getting a second chance, but instead of football, they must endure six grueling months of boot camp.
People reports that on Monday, Johnson honored a group of youth offenders at the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department after the young men graduated a boot camp program.
Johnson is currently filming a new HBO documentary, Rock & a Hard Place, in Miami, Florida, where he’s working with minors who are serving time for charges such as robbery, attempted murder, and more.
After serving six months at the corrections center and completing an intensive boot camp program, numerous at-risk youth successfully graduated, with Johnson by their side, congratulating them.
“Congratulations. We’re all very, very proud of you.”
The Rock, clearly proud of the graduates, expressed his enthusiasm on Instagram this week, stating that the graduating cadets once faced the possibility of life in prison.
“Big day today… 6 months ago these youth offenders all faced prison time anywhere from 5yrs to life for a variety of crimes ranging from armed robbery to attempted murder. In front of the judge on the day of their sentencing they accepted to be placed in an extremely hardcore one of kind bootcamp. “
In addition to Johnson, family members and friends of the cadets joined in to watch the graduation, along with several drill sergeants and Judge Jason Bloch of Florida, who stated that the program is one of a kind with a high success rate.
“Over 90 percent of the people who graduate from this program don’t come back into the system.”
Yet, some of the cadets didn’t last long in the free world and were sent back to prison, much to Johnson’s disappointment. In a recent instagram picture, a disappointed Johnson hangs his head low as he stands in a prison hallway.
“I’d been following their progress over the past months and today was the day they WOULD’VE graduated and been free young men. Now it’s done and they’re future is bleak.”
Regardless, Johnson remains positive about the program and feels that there is still hope for at-risk youth as long as they work hard and refuse to give up.
Although there is still no word yet as to when the documentary will air, The Rock says the project is close to his heart, given that he himself went through troubles during his early teens.
[Photos Courtesy of Dwayne Johnson/Instagram]