P.O.V.: 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story

About This Episode


In June 2000, 14-year-old Kenneth Young was convinced by a 24-year-old neighborhood crack dealer, who was Kenneth's mother's supplier, to join him on a month-long spree of four armed robberies. The older man planned the Tampa, Florida heists and brandished the pistol and, on one occasion, he was talked out of raping one of the victims by his young partner. Fortunately, no one was physically injured during the crimes, although the trauma that resulted was immeasurable.

When they were caught, Kenneth didn't deny his part. It was his first serious scrape with the law. But at 15, he was tried under Florida law as an adult. Astoundingly, he received four consecutive life sentences — guaranteeing that he would die in prison. 15 to Life: Kenneth's Story follows the young African-American man’s battle for release, after more than 10 years of incarceration, much of it spent in solitary confinement. The film is also a disturbing portrait of an extraordinary fact: The United States is the only country in the world that condemns juveniles to life without parole.