by Natalie De Mola
Is it fair that your child can make one mistake and spend the rest of his or her life paying for it? Is it fair to say that the reason children must have a guardian is because they are not old enough to make their own decisions? Why is it that kids can’t smoke until the age of 18, or that they can’t drink until the age of 21? It’s because our mind is not fully developed and we are still growing into our own identity.
Here is the big question? Why is it that voters can vote to give a child life in prison, but we are not allowed to vote because we are too young? We can get tried and punished as adults, but we get treated like children when it is convenient to others.
I am a 27-year-old woman writing this article to shed some light on behalf of all the youth who have made that “one mistake that we now pay for with our lives.” I am currently sentenced to a life without the possibility of parole sentence for a crime that happened when I was only 16 years young.
Is it fair that your child can make one mistake and spend the rest of his or her life paying for it?
I am also not the only one serving life as a juvenile. There are many others. In addition, please don’t say that this only happens to people who grew up in bad areas; this can happen to anyone’s child, including your own. Why? Because when you are a teenager, you are unpredictable and put more value on “rewards” instead of “consequences.” That characteristic fits every child in the world.
We have many people trying to understand why our society is so dysfunctional now. All adults were once children, and the youth are our future. Healing starts from the root in order to break the cycle. Nevertheless, why are people throwing the key away on us and just giving up on us? We are still young and have a bright future ahead of ourselves. Just give us one chance to redeem ourselves because as long as there is life, there is hope. Just believe in us.
There is a case that involves a minor who is serving life and she has two adult co-defendants. One of the co-defendants is going home within two years, and the other got her case overturned in the 9th Circuit. What about that child that is left behind? Surely everyone deserves a chance to go home, but what about the child with no voice?
Why is it that kids can’t smoke until the age of 18, or that they can’t drink until the age of 21? It’s because our mind is not fully developed and we are still growing into our own identity.
I thought we had rules and regulations that were there to protect us and set us apart? I mean, we are not old enough to drink, smoke, vote or even be out on our own, but when we mess up, now you see us as an adult. I don’t get it.
The child in this case is named Carde Keishon Taylor, W-82777, housed at Central California Women’s Facility, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla, CA 93610, that houses many juvenile offenders. She was only 17 years old at the time of her crime and is serving a 30 years to life sentence.
She has earned an associate of arts degree and has rehabilitated herself. Most of all she is not that naive child anymore. She is a bold woman who has a powerful testimony that would touch the world. Is it fair that a child under 18 gets that much time, or even more, and our story is not told? Does anyone think this is wrong?
I mean, we are not old enough to drink, smoke, vote or even be out on our own, but when we mess up, now you see us as an adult. I don’t get it.
We need awareness. We need someone to step up and find out what is going on with our youth. Many juvenile lifers are 1st time offenders and have no record at all. Some of us come from good families and some of us have endured the worst that life could throw at us at such a young age. Either way, we are now trapped and forgotten.
I am asking that if anyone reads this, I encourage you to find out what is going on with our youth today that there is a rise of incarcerated youth. I do believe that if you do a crime that you must do the time. But no child deserves a life sentence. Malcolm X once said, “No one can separate peace from freedom because no man can be at peace without his freedom.”
No child deserves a life sentence.
So please help the youth gain our freedom so we can promote peace in society. We have been refined and formed into a new image. We are no longer who we were, but we have now grown to who we were made to be. Help us; help the youth out there, which in turn will help our future.
Send our sister some love and light: Natalie De Mola, X-12907, 509-29-3up, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla CA 93610.