Coming of Age in Prison
By Kat Shannon, September 28 2012
As a college educated man, Reginald Dwyane Betts reflects on his 8 ½ years of incarceration in county jail during a C-SPAN interview with Cure Violence’s Eduardo Bocanegra, a Violence Interrputer. In this interview, Betts speaks about growing up in prison and his book, "A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison."
Betts, an honor student and class treasurer at Suitland High School, was incarcerated at the age of 16 for armed carjacking. He was the only juvenile in the county jail.
Though prison is a disturbing reality for a 16 year old, Betts described his time behind bars as a learning experience where he gained a deeper understanding of the world around him. “As much as prison was a terrible place, it was the most diverse place I had ever been,” he explained. Being in prison gave Betts a chance to speak with African-American elders and he was able to understand a history of failures and successes in his own culture. He considers himself fortune for having a desire for knowledge and learning which allowed him to grow as a person, even in the confinement of prison.
Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, No bio box, Rehabilitation