Children in the state of Tennessee can be sentenced to a 60 year life sentence with the minimum sentence being 51 years which is the harshest sentence for children in the country. These young people are known as Juvenile Lifers.
Tennessee has been prosecuting young people under the age of 18 with this law since 1995. A majority of the incarcerated population including 77% of the juvenile lifers in Tennessee are known as black/African American, in a state where they represent only 17% of the population. The disproportionate rates of incarceration have been widely viewed as a continuation of Tennessee’s legacy of slavery and racism.
Currently, the Tennessee Supreme Court is considering a case that will decide if sentencing a child to a 60 year life sentence is unconstitutional.
In our documentary, we look at the case and circumstances of Quinton Sanders to understand not only the Juvenile Life law but the human impact on these children, their families and the socio economic inequities and trauma that continue to impact these same communities today.
Directed by Imani Mfalme (J.King) Shu’la (USA)