Natural Life

Natural Life

Available on iTunes
Natural Life, an experimental documentary installation produced in conjunction with the legal efforts of The Law Offices of Deborah LaBelle (LODL), challenges inequities in the juvenile justice system by depicting, through documentation and reenactment, the stories of five youths who received the most severe sentence available for convicted adults - a sentence of "natural life" or "life without parole". Fear of juvenile crime has, in recent years, violated the fundamental ideas upon which juvenile court rests, and specifically, the belief in children's unique capacity for rehabilitation and change. State law makers and the federal government have more and more frequently opted to resort to harsher punitive adult models, demanding that children be put on trial as if they were as culpable, liable, and informed as adults who commit similar crimes. Forty-one states in the U.S. elect to enforce a sentence of life without parole (natural life) on youth under the age of eighteen. The sentencing system for youth is especially vulnerable to challenge where over half of the youth did not, themselves, commit a homicide, and at no point in the process was their youthful status and lesser culpability taken into account. Natural Life aims to portray the ripple effect that the juvenile justice system's imbalance has had on the lives, not only of the incarcerated youth and the victims of their crimes, but on their family members, on law enforcement and legal officials, and on the community at large.
Starring Lakim Carney, Chrissy Garcia, Faizan Hasnain
Director Tirtza Even