Longform

Will juvenile lifers get a second chance?

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Like the other lifers who came to prison before they ever got a chance to be men, there's an oddly stunted boyishness about him. He talks about never having seen the Internet and not having any role models in prison for the man he would like to be.

"At seventeen, you don't know nothing about being a man," he says. "You think you know, but you're an idiot. We're all still in that frame of mind, to some degree."

His hands press against each other as if in prayer. "Whether my sentence changes or not," he says, "I'd still like to be in a situation where I can give a voice to the people convicted as juveniles. We might die in here, but it doesn't mean we have to fall victim to this lifestyle.

"A better life is always a choice away. I believe that."

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast