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March 21, 2012 (The Daily Beast)

Formerly Incarcerated Juveniles Say Life Term Is Cruel for Teens, As Case Hits High Court

“There is nothing glamorous about prison,” said Oshea Israel. “It is not a rite of passage. It is a hostile environment where you can be raped and manipulated.”

As the Supreme Court considers whether juveniles who commit murder should be imprisoned for life without parole, Israel, who is now studying psychology, is a powerful example of what rehabilitation can do. As a teen in Minneapolis, he was involved with drugs and gangs. At 16, during a heated argument at party, he shot and killed 20-year-old Laramiun Byrd.

He was tried as an adult, and because of a “judge with a compassionate heart,” received 25 years behind bars. “He understood I had the capacity to change,” recalls Israel.” He did not want to send me to jail for the rest of my life.”

The full article can be viewed here.

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Juvenile Justice