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This Boy's Life

Joshua Beckius was only sixteen when he accepted a plea bargain for a crime he now says he didn't commit. Will the court let him take his case to trial?

"And when the thing goes down it's his fault, wasn't my fault. See what I'm saying?...See, 'cause he small, he take the, ah, what you call it? The risk."

For Beckius at fourteen, the gang had represented family, the one thing he could depend on. He had admired Charlie Pa for his toughness and independence. "They were doing everything on their own," he remembers. "They could do what they wanted."

These days, Beckius sees the gang differently. It's hard to change while you're in prison, he says, but he's trying: "Now I've experienced all the bad, I can experience all the good."

His strongest desire is to get out and have a family of his own. "I would be like my dad, except I'd want to be able to talk to my kid more and have my kid open up to me," he says. "My dad did things the best way he knew how. He tried to be strict; he tried to set limits and I guess, from what I remember -- I guess I overlooked them."

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