My guest is James Garbarino. His new book is Miller's Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us. It is a passionate and comprehensive look at the human consequences of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Miller v. Alabama, which outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile murderers. The decision to apply the law retroactively to other cases has provided hope to those convicted of murders as teenagers and had been incarcerated with the expectation that they would never leave prison until their own death as incarcerated adults.
Psychological expert witness James Garbarino shares his fieldwork in more than forty resentencing cases of juveniles affected by the Miller decision. Providing a wide-ranging review of current research on human development in adolescence and early adulthood, he shows how studies reveal the adolescent mind’s keen ability for malleability, suggesting the true potential for rehabilitation.
Garbarino focuses on how and why some convicted teenage murderers have been able to accomplish dramatic rehabilitation and transformation, emphasizing the role of education, reflection, mentoring, and spiritual development. With a deft hand, he shows us the prisoners’ world that is filled, first and foremost, with stories of hope amid despair, and moral and psychological recovery in the face of developmental insult and damage.