A group of Tennessee state legislators, lawyers and judges are trying to prepare a bill that would reform state sentencing laws for juveniles who have committed serious crimes, including Cyntoia Brown of the film Me Facing Life. Tennessee has some of the strictest juvenile sentencing laws in the country. In 2016, Judge Sheila Calloway was one of the driving forces to try to change all that with this new bill, inspired in large part by Cyntoia’s story. There was enough opposition to the bill the first time around that it was withdrawn, but they will try again in 2017.
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.