Strong Education Programs, Supports Can Be Potent for Justice-Involved Youth
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” In my case, education fundamentally saved my life. At age 16, I was sentenced to serve six years at a secure juvenile detention facility in upstate New York for the crime of attempted murder.
I committed the offense when I was 15 years and 363 days old. If I been 16 at the time of the offense, I would have been charged as an adult and would have received a much longer sentence than six years.
When I entered the system, I was a completely different person; I was angry, impulsive, uneducated and gang-affiliated. To me, education played no important role in my life; as a matter of fact, very few things mattered to me, including my own life. It was not until I joined the college program of the juvenile detention facility that I was placed at that I realized the important role that education could play in helping young men like myself and others turn their life around.