At 17, Eric Alexander received two 25-year sentences for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Eric’s father was an alcoholic and as a child Eric saw him perpetrate a lot of violence on his mother, which eventually led Eric to join a gang as a place to feel accepted. He was released after serving 10 years, and today serves as a mentor for teenagers, after studying developmental psychology. In this short by Me Facing Life director Dan Birman, Eric talks about the hope that a proposed new juvenile justice reform law could give to those who were incarcerated as youths.
This series is part of Independent Lens‘s commitment to fostering collaboration between filmmakers and journalists. “Sentencing Children” was originally published by The Tennessean newspaper.