CNN新闻在线听附文本(2010-03-21) 简介：Download MP3 Audio 把音频贴到我的博客(Qzone)或BBS 关闭MP3地址:音频页面地址:PHILLIPS: Growing up behind bars. They are considered too young to make th…
Download MP3 Audio
PHILLIPS: Growing up behind bars. They are considered too young to make their own legal decisions, yet they can face life in prison for crimes that do not involve murder.
Now, one man is sharing his personal experience with the Supreme Court. CNN's Jason Carroll has the details.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Dwayne Betts addressed students at last year's University of Maryland's Commencement ceremonies, his thoughts then and now are about second chances.
DWAYNE BETTS, CONVICTED AS ADULT AT 16: And definitely when I was 16 years old on December 7th, 1996, I carjacked a man in a parking lot in Springfield, Virginia and after that I was --
CARROLL (on camera): At gunpoint?
BETTS: -- at gunpoint. I had a gun.
CARROLL (voice-over): Betts remembers when he was a high school honor student who fell into the wrong crowd. (on camera): How did you end up going astray? And why do you think that that happened?
BETTS: I think -- I think the truth is that -- it's sort of a strange mix of opportunity. You know, turning 16, you have a gun in your hand. And so I think it was a lot of baby steps.
CARROLL (voice-over): Baby steps that led to a major crime, carjacking which in Virginia carries a maximum sentence of life even if no one is physically hurt as in Betts' case.
BETTS: And there's no way to quantify what a life sentence does to a person. And if I had to wake up every morning to a life sentence, I don't even want to imagine what I would have became (ph).
CARROLL: Instead Betts received the minimum sentence, nearly nine years, serving alongside the state's most violent criminals in the adult prison system.
BETTS: And I'm still thinking about what that time did to me in a sense that it became natural to walk down a hall and see somebody getting beat up and in a lot of ways I was the exception in that I didn't get raped, and I didn't get robbed.
CARROLL (on camera): Is it your opinion that the -- your punishment fit the crime.
BETTS: You know for me and for most young people who find themselves transferred to adult court, that case could definitely be handled in juvenile court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give daddy a hug.
CARROLL: And your life has changed dramatically from the point where you carjacked that man in that parking lot to where you are now. How would you define your life now?
BETTS: You know for me the most precious things in my life are the ability to be a contributing member as a father, as a husband and as a teacher.