Letters from MI juvenile lifers share sorrow, hope

Dec 2, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court is studying whether to offer a chance at freedom to offenders sentenced to mandatory life terms as juveniles. Current State talks with Lansing-based reporter Craig Mauger of MIRS News. He exchanged letters with Michigan inmates who could be impacted.

In Michigan, more than 350 people are serving mandatory life sentences in prison for crimes they committed as juveniles. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that going forward, states could no longer automatically sentence juveniles guilty of serious crimes to life without parole. They declared it cruel and unusual punishment.

Now, the high court has begun studying whether to allow states to extend the ruling retroactively to those sentenced before the ruling three years ago.

We talk with Lansing-based reporter Craig Mauger, who’s been exploring the issue through the words of the convicts who have a shot at freedom. Over the course of  a couple of months, Mauger exchanged letters with about a dozen Michigan prisoners, some of them still relatively young, about their time behind bars and what the possibility of release means to them.