Youth Advocates Using Documentary to Sway Public Opinion on JLWOP

WASHINGTON — Last year, documentary audiences first met Kenneth Young, a man sentenced to life in prison in Florida for crimes he committed as a young teenager.

A year later, advocates still are spreading his story, hoping it will help end sentences of juvenile life without parole in communities across the country.

The engagement campaign around the film, “15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story,” is a way to change culture, not just laws, supporters said at a screening of the film on Monday.

The film follows the legal fight of Young, who was sentenced to four consecutive terms of life without the possibility of parole for his role in a series of armed robberies when he was 14 and 15 years old.

The filmmakers have teamed with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth to host dozens of community screenings and panel discussions that explore the question of juvenile life without parole, using Young’s story as a jumping-off point.

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By Sarah Barr 7/28/2015