By Elena Kadvany · Daily Trojan
In 1989, five 14-to 15-year-old boys, four black and one Hispanic, were convicted of a crime they did not commit. They spent between five and 11 years in juvenile delinquent centers and prisons in New York. Though the boys were victims of institutional racism and a flawed justice system that robbed them of a significant portion of their youth, none of them wasted their time behind bars. Though their imprisonment interrupted their high school careers, each one of them took and passed the General Education Development Test while incarcerated.
Kate Wong | Daily Trojan
A documentary co-directed by Ken Burns that opened in Los Angeles last week, the Central Park Five (which the media infamously dubbed the group) tells the story of these boys’ incarceration and eventual acquittal. Though I strongly recommend seeing the film for many reasons, from its accurate portrayal of a deeply flawed American justice system, news media and society to amazing footage and interviews, the fact that all five got their GEDs in prison should remind us of the powerful role that correctional education plays in prison reform.
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