Take Action Around '15 To Life'
Only a few states currently ban life without parole sentences for juveniles, though many more are considering bans. Check the link under the "Get Involved" tab on the film's website (http://15tolifethefilm.com/legislative-reform/) to see what the status of juvenile sentencing law is in your state and plan actions based on what you find.
Crime victim Jennifer Norman wrote to Kenneth Young to let him know who she was and how his crime affected her life. Facilitate projects that help victims tell their stories, help young inmates understand the impact of their crimes and facilitate healing for everyone involved.
Follow up viewing with a study circle initiative in which small groups meet to read (or view) and discuss texts on racism and the American criminal justice system. The study circles might kick off their efforts by reading Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Consider creating an event where smaller study circles can come together to share what they have learned and brainstorm actions they might take in response.
Get involved with re-entry programs specifically designed for young people returning to your community after serving time in jail or prison.
Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.
This guide is an invitation to dialogue. It is based on a belief in the power of human connection, designed for people who want to use 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story to engage family, friends, classmates, colleagues and communities. In contrast to initiatives that foster debates in which participants try to convince others that they are right, this document envisions conversations undertaken in a spirit of openness in which people try to understand one another and expand their thinking by sharing viewpoints and listening actively.
The discussion prompts are intentionally crafted to help a wide range of audiences think more deeply about the issues in the film. Rather than attempting to address them all, choose one or two that best meet your needs and interests. And be sure to leave time to consider taking action. Planning next steps can help people leave the room feeling energized and optimistic, even in instances when conversations have been difficult.
For more detailed event planning and facilitation tips, visit www.pbs.org/pov/engage.
In this lesson, students will practice writing, listening, discussion and research skills as they examine policies for sentencing juveniles in the United States.
This list of fiction and nonfiction books, compiled by Erica Bess, Susan Conlon and Hanna Lee of Princeton Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the POV documentary 15 to Life: Kenneth’s story.