I have two more months here, or less, then I go to an adult facility. I was convicted (with several co-defenders) of killing one of my friend’s mother. I was sixteen, and it was a series of events—bad peer pressure and alcohol.

The oldest of my friends—co-conspirators–was convicted of four counts. He was over 18 at the time so he was convicted as an adult. He has successfully appealed three of the convictions and had them overturned. He’s waiting for the results of the last appeal. I’m the only one out of the four kids involved that received life without parole. I want to apply for clemency but can’t find an attorney that would take it pro-bono. I don’t have the money for an appeal. I thought I might get 30 years to life but ended up with life without parole. I was convicted right after Measure 11 passed, from a small town where they wanted to set an example of how to punish juveniles. It appears that the Department of Corrections has become the Department of Punishment. We went to Canada and were at the border in a stolen car after we planned for about 4-5 hours how to kill the mother. We fled and were stopped at the Canadian side. I was brought back and interrogated by two male and one female detective from Oregon. I am not sure if I was Mirandized. There was no one that advocated for me in the room while I was being questioned. I have been here 7 years with DOC rather than OYA. I age out of here in two months and HOPE I go to Salem where I might have the friendship and protection of Chris Cringle who is somewhat notorious…look him up. I can either give up or try and do something with my life. I took a lot, so I am trying to give back by having received a paralegal degree through Blackstone.  My biological mother and stepdad were a very bad crowd. My stepfather was a scummy street person. I’ve been given two life sentences.

– S, age 24 at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon

At the window is Dave Hansen—the Treatment Manager at SIPT. “My evaluations don’t mean anything in sentencing. I treat kids as they come in and while they are here–and have to say goodbye when many go on to the adult facility.” The Supreme Court has ruled against life without parole for non-capital cases and is now taking up the issue of age and mitigating circumstances for juveniles in capital offenses.

Click here for more images of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, Woodburn, Oregon
Click here for New York Times article on life sentences without parole for juveniles for capital offenses-7 Nov 2011
Click here for information on Equal Justice Initiative, the non-profit law firm in Alabama representing two of the inmates in the case of life sentences for youth in the Supreme Court hearing
 Click here for info from the Campaign for Youth Justice

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