Segments in this Video

Massachusetts Parole Board (03:54)


In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court rules life without parole for teenagers unconstitutional. Inmates and the family members of victims address the parole board. D.A. Timothy Cruz believes some crimes deserve a life sentence.

Mandatory Life Sentence (05:21)

Anthony Rolon recalls entering prison at the age of 17. Hear reports of his crimes and an audio recording of the victim's family members at Rolon's parole hearing. (Credits)

Superpredators (02:34)

Rolon's conviction occurs during a period of national concern over juvenile crime. Experts discuss the context of crime in the 1980s and legislative response.

Felony Murder (04:11)

Joe Donovan Jr. receives a mandatory life sentence for the murder of MIT student Yngve Raustein. The courts charge Shon McHugh, the one who stabbed Raustein, as a juvenile; Donovan faces first degree murder charges.

Superpredator Punishment Legacy (02:30)

During this era, John Dilulio and Prof. James Fox are the most public theory proponents. Superpredator laws lead to extreme sentences, disproportionately given to young minority offenders.

Juvenile "Lifers" (07:04)

In 2003, a judge reduces Rolon's crime to second degree murder, but the state Supreme Court reverses the ruling. In the mid-2000s, the U.S. Supreme Court makes a series of decisions that changes juvenile sentencing. Experts discuss Evan Miller's first degree murder case, the Supreme Court's ruling, and ensuing state responses.

Teen Killers and Parole Hearings (05:32)

Massachusetts is the first state to hold hearings for inmates who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles. Experts discuss the reactions of the victims' family members. Donovan is the first to go before the parole board.

Rolon's Parole Hearing (04:55)

Rolon discusses his hearing after the Supreme Court's decision on juvenile "lifers" and the response of Robert Botelho Jr.'s family. Barbara Kaban discusses opposition to the hearings and focusing on change.

Donovan's Parole Hearing (03:10)

Prosecutors resist Donovan's release. Donovan acknowledges his disciplinary issues. The parole board worries Donovan is "too broken" to be released.

Prison Release and Recidivism (03:36)

The parole board issues its first decision in the juvenile "lifers" hearings. Experts discuss the likelihood of individuals re-offending. Rolon recalls learning he was paroled.

Life Outside Prison (05:20)

The parole board grants Donovan's release and he visits his mother. A year after his release, Rolon tries to make sense of his life; he is a father and productive citizen.

Forced Hearings (03:11)

Roughly half of all juvenile "lifers" that went before the parole board in 2014 received parole; no others have been released since. In 2016, the Supreme Court forces states to act on the Miller decision. Evan Miller attends a resentencing hearing in 2017.

Credits: Second Chance Kids (01:02)

Credits: Second Chance Kids

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Second Chance Kids

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What happens when prisoners convicted of first degree murder as teenagers are given the chance to re-enter society? FRONTLINE takes a look at the fight over the fate of some 2,000 individuals following a landmark 2012 Supreme Court ruling that found sentences of mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional. Drawing on the experiences of prosecutors, defenders, the families of the murder victims, and several offenders themselves, Second Chance Kids examines the impact of the order to re-evaluate thousands of juvenile murder cases and follows two of the first convicts to be released.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL166818

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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