Taking Years Off of Their Lives: Where is the Punishment?

Prison is a corrupt system. Inmates are raped, beaten, often by the guards and staff at prison. It separates you from your family, leaves you in fear. When you get out, you have a criminal record, which makes it extremely hard to get a new life started. A lot of people end up back in prison, either because that is all they know now, or because they must continue illegal activity in order to support themselves. Imagine having precious years of your life taken away. I believe that there are some very immoral crimes that require punishment. But our prison system is far too demoralizing. Imagine having precious years of your life taken away from you as a young boy. Imagine having precious years of your life taken away because you were wrongfully accused! In the Netflix four-part series When They See Us five boys who were unaffiliated with the rape and abuse of a young woman in Central Park. Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer who both oversaw and were in charge of the prosecution of these boys knew that there was no evidence that these boys had done this, tampered and manipulated and wrongfully accused these boys. In the documentary, Lederer went along with it, while Fairstein had an agenda to accuse them, and her reasoning was that it was for the justice of the woman who was raped.

These boys turned into men in prison, facing the unthinkable at such an age, were coerced by detectives in the process, while Lederer and Fairstein went on as educators of Law at prestigious universities. To me, the woman who was raped was not given justice, because her attacker was still out there while these boys went to prison. These prosecutors who are supposed to protect and serve did not do right by her, and cost five men years of life. Where was their punishment? To think that those women knew our prison system and sent them there anyway? Where was their punishment?

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Layla Ybarra-Harvey

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