“Social-justice documentaries aren’t always as engaging as you’d like them to be — they can be preachy, decidedly one-sided or two-dimensional. Not so for this little gem. … It does a fine job of using one very human story to make a larger point about the criminal justice system.” — Erin Sullivan, Orlando Weekly
Does sentencing a teenager to life without parole serve our society well? The United States is the only country in the world that routinely condemns children to die in prison. This is the story of one of those children, now a young man, seeking a second chance in Florida. At age 15, Kenneth Young received four consecutive life sentences for a series of armed robberies. Imprisoned for more than a decade, he believed he would die behind bars. Now a U.S. Supreme Court decision could set him free. 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story follows Young’s struggle for redemption, revealing a justice system with thousands of young people serving sentences intended for society’s most dangerous criminals.
“I was shocked to learn that kids as young as 12 years old are being sentenced to die in prison,” says 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza. “When children commit crimes, should rehabilitation take precedence over punishment? Can children be ruled to be adults, based on a single action? Can children who commit violent acts be rehabilitated? By focusing on Kenneth’s story, I set out to find answers.”
After the broadcast, visit the 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story companion site to watch the full film online for free for a limited time following the broadcast, learn from the filmmaker in an extended video interview, find out what’s happened in Kenneth’s case since the cameras stopped rolling, view a timeline of Kenneth’s case and explore the court rulings that have affected young people like him, download a discussion guide and other viewing resources, and ask filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza and other juvenile justice experts your questions live on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, (the day after broadcast) live on Google+ from 2-3 PM ET (11 AM-12 PM PT).