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'The Rock' Honors Cadets At Boot Camp Graduation

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hollywood star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was the A-list guest at a boot camp graduation at the Richard Gerstein Justice Building in Miami.

But this was not just a public appearance for the box-office superstar.  He was there shooting a documentary he's working on to shine a light on a Miami-Dade program he believes in that aims to give inmates a second chance.

"We've been shooting there for the past six months, getting to know the cadets, seeing the transformation," said Johnson.

Johnson's production company, Seven Bucks Productions, has partnered up with HBO to give the world an inside look at the "Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department Boot Camp Program."

He says his documentary "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" will show the road the more than 30 graduating cadets have been through to get to this day: graduation.

"Congratulations," Johnson told the graduates.  "We're all very, very proud of you."

"The Rock" wanted to showcase the program because he says he can relate to the cadets.

"When I was 13 or 14, I started getting arrested, doing a lot of things I shouldn't have been doing," he said.  "And I wanted them to know that life does go on and they're going to have another opportunity."

Not long ago, the boot camp faced an uncertain future as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez recommended its closure as a way of saving money.

But following a half hour special CBS4 News aired in September, Mayor Gimenez announced he was restoring the boot camp's $3.5 million budget after finding additional one-time revenue.

Johnson hopes his documentary will also help to showcase the importance of the program to the inmates and the community, a community he calls home.

"When you shine a global spotlight on something, it not only raises awareness but in a way it will anchor this facility for many years to come because it's kind of been on the chopping block for some time," Johnson said.

Also in attendance today were the cadets' families, drill instructors, city officials and judges who have seen the difference the program makes.

"Over 90 percent of the people who graduate from this program don't come back into the system," said 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Judge Jason Bloch.

Although Johnson keeps quite busy between his movies, HBO series "Ballers" and WWE, this is one project that's close to his heart.

"It's my hometown.  It's Miami.  I'm a Miami boy. It's in my DNA.  And I care.  I care about the community," he said.

No word on when the documentary will air.


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