Through the Eyes of the Judged (Autobiographical Sketches by Incarcerated Young Men)
by Simeon Terry, Ben Peters, Chang, Saechao, Johnathan Smith, Terrance Turner, Tuan Dang, Floyd Gonzalez, and John Paul
This book explores the life journeys of eight young men incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. Each story is unique, but there are sad similarities in the lives of kids who grow up without a societal safety net and quickly find themselves on America’s school to prison pipeline. The book asks us to contemplate whether we as a society could do more to intervene before long-term incarceration inevitably alters the lives of so many children.
One of the authors, Civil Survival Vice Chair Terrance Turner, describes his upbringing in an economically and emotionally troubled environment, which led to choices on the streets that saw him incarcerated in 1995 at the age of 15. During his six years in prison, Mr. Turner reflected that “[s]ociety is quick to land its children in prisons and institutions. Society is quick to pass new laws to keep its children in captivity.” Despite the odds against rehabilitation, he earned his GED and believed change was possible. Mr. Turner concludes:
I am aware that there are many alternative paths my life could have traveled, including death, based on the decisions I made. But I am content with the roads I’ve traveled, for the have brought me to the present. A beautiful present and renovated image of self and thought that started with change.
Mr. Turner went on to complete his college degree and turn his life toward a positive path. He advocates for justice involved individuals through Civil Survival and other organizations while stressing the importance of education in removing barriers to successful reintegration into the community.
Watch a video about Terrance: