YSRP staff gathered on February 1, 2023, to celebrate freedom and commemorate the 7th anniversary of the landmark Montgomery v. Louisiana US Supreme Court decision with former Juvenile Lifers, advocates, and movement leaders.
On September 8, 2022, YSRP Reentry Coordinator Don “Ike” Jones was one of more than 100 attendees of the inaugural Freedom Celebration, hosted by our partners at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in Washington, DC. The celebration marked the 10th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which ruled that mandatory juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences were unconstitutional. There, he was interviewed by NPR’s Carrie Johnson on Weekend Edition.
In community, Ike reflected on his freedom and what brought him to this moment:
It’s men and women – it’s not the institutions, man – that raised me. You know, they showed me how to do things properly. You know, and I want people to know that it’s safe to let lifers out. It’s safe to let people out of prison.”
He goes on to make a critical point that children convicted of crimes – when their brains are still developing – have the capacity for growth and change. Jody Kent Lavy, Co-Executive Director of the CFSY, also shares the national landscape of states that have struck down JLWOP sentences in the time since the Miller decision. Click above to listen to the full interview.