After 57 Years, Henry Montgomery Is Finally Getting A Victory

Briona Lamback
November 22, 2021

57 years. 9 months. 16 days. That’s how long Henry Montgomery spent in prison after one fateful day in 1963 in Louisiana, when he was only 17 years old. But what did he do?

Montgomery was sentenced to death, then life without parole – years before the Civil Rights Act was passed – for killing a plainclothes police officer. He narrowly escaped the death penalty, but would still spend his entire life in prison.

And that’s why he became a part of a landmark Supreme Court case that changed over 800 lives.

In 2012, mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children were banned. 

In 2016, Montgomery v. Louisiana ruled that this could be applied to youth who had already been incarcerated – like Montgomery. But he stayed in prison. Why?

Despite board members and judges advising that Montgomery isn’t a risk, the now 75-year-old man stayed in prison while others were released because of his influence.

Our system refuses to acknowledge that human beings can grow and evolve. But there is a small victory in this story.

On November 17, 2021, Montgomery was finally granted parole! He, and all of us, deserve to live in a world that uplifts Black children, not sends them behind bars for life. 

You can help Montgomery regain that life with the Louisiana Parole Project at this link:

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