He Was Used By The System And Thrown Away

Alcatraz prison hallway
Leslie Taylor-Grover
April 15, 2020

Willie Bosket, Jr. was angry. Starved and raped as a child, the 15-year-old boy lived in survival mode. When a man on the subway yelled at him, he snapped, killing his adversary and two others.

Meanwhile, Governor Hugh Carey was campaigning for re-election - and wasn’t doing well. Desperate for a chance to reform his “soft on crime” reputation, Bosket’s story caught his eye. Bosket had been convicted to “only” five years in juvenile detention for the subway murder. 

Carey jumped on the opportunity.

He quickly pushed through the Juvenile Offender Act of 1978, known as the Willie Bosket law. With a flick of his pen, children as young as 13 years old could be tried as ADULTS. 

Bosket was eventually placed in an adult prison, still carrying the pain from his atrocious childhood. But his pain wasn’t over.

Bosket has spent over 20 years in the torture of solitary confinement, charged with three consecutive 25-year sentences. 

The Willie Bosket law is still in effect today. It reversed a 150-year tradition of reforming children instead of treating them as adults. The worst part?

Nearly half of the children incarcerated as adults are OUR children. 

Violent children are usually victims of violent circumstances. We must continue to fight for our children against a system that locks our children up instead of giving them the help that they need!

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