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After decades in prison, finding new life mentoring at-risk youth

November 16, 2021


Michael Plummer, a Washington, D.C. man, works with at-risk youth to pass on the lessons he learned from more than two decades behind bars. William Brangham and producer Mike Fritz have been following Plummer’s story for more than a year and a half since his release from prison. This report is part of our ongoing series, Searching for Justice.

Five Facts

  • Who is profiled in this piece, and what is his background?
  • When was Christopher Plummer released from prison?
  • What is a “credible messenger” as described in this piece?
  • How can mentorship such as credible messenger work impact the lives of young and at-risk individuals, according to research mentioned in this piece?
  • Why are credible messengers more trusted than other mentors, according to the teen interviewed in this piece?

Focus Questions

What do you think are some ways communities can support those returning from prison who are working to help at-risk youth? Based on this story, what do you think Plummer himself needs to help make his work successful?

Media literacy: This piece mentions research that supports the effectiveness of programs such as credible messenger work. Do you think the piece does a good job explaining that research? If you wanted to evaluate that research for yourself, is it clear where you could find it?

For More

This lesson is part of our Searching for Justice series on criminal justice reform. For more in the series, see this page. You can also find related lesson plans here and here.

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