Young Offenders...

This Seattle Times piece is a must read for those interested in the problems of juvies.

It uses the story of Heather Opel (seen here conferring with her lawyer)
to highlight the terrifying reality of juvenile sentencing.

"Heather Opel was 13 and felt cooped up inside the Snohomish County juvenile-detention center. When told that Echo Glen Children's Center has a big outdoor exercise area and that's where she'd be sent if she admitted she helped kill her mother's employer, pleading guilty didn't seem like a big deal.

Against the advice of her own attorney, Heather entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 22 years — the first seven at the Issaquah school for violent teens, the remainder in prison.

Her thinking: Going to prison wouldn't be so bad because she'd only be 35 when she got out — still young enough to fulfill her dream of playing professional women's basketball."

1 comment:

Lissa Sue said...

I feel so bad for this young woman. Are families used to be so close and now she is in prison and will never get the chance to do all the things that teenagers are privilaged to do. I pray for her and her family constantly.