The Circle asks Cole to explain why they shouldn't send him to jail and he says that when he first got to the island he was angry and didn't realize they were trying to help him.
Then he says that he knows what he did was wrong and that he can't go back to the island after he disrespected the chance that they gave him.
His mother steps forward to say that he's changed and that she can tell that he's trying to do the right thing now.
When they get to Peter's lawyer, she says they should send Cole to jail already, especially because Peter is still struggling a lot physically and emotionally.
Edwin comes up and says that people can change in two ways: with persistent pressure, or with a sudden traumatic experience. That's what he feels has happened to Cole, and he thinks he's changed for the better.
Edwin says that if Circle Justice decides to send Cole back to the island, he's going to have to do everything himself—he'll have to build his shelter, pay for all of his supplies, and figure out how to get there.
Cole spends the following weeks waiting for Circle Justice to come to their decision. He's pretty sure that he's going to jail, but he spends his time exercising and trying to heal his body.
Edwin comes to talk to him and asks him if he blames everything that happened on his abusive dad. That's when Cole says it's not his father's fault that he's made bad decisions—it's his fault. He only knows that he won't be the kind of dad who beats his kid.
That's when Garvey and Edwin tell him the good news: He's going back to the island.