After sixteen years of imprisonment, Jeffrey Deskovic was finally released to the public after he was wrongly convicted and sentenced for raping and murdering a high school classmate. He was held against his will in an interrogation room for eight hours with no adult to help him; it was him and the detective. He was pushed beyond his limit and, because of the abuse he received, was forced to admit he was guilty. However, he was not guilty of such a crime. What shocked many people was his depression, anxiety and panic attacks he endured after he was released.
The focus of my research paper, Juveniles Endure Mental Trauma from Wrongfully Convicted Crimes, is to understand what happens when a teenager is wrongly convicted and punished for crimes committed by someone else. Jeffrey Deskovic was completely innocent, but because of the lack of evidence and how quickly the judge wanted to end the case, Jeffrey Deskovic suffered a new level of distress. After diving into the punishments and sentencing of adolescents and coming to understand how there are certain degrees of punishments, juveniles still endure psychological trauma after being wrongly convicted. I believe anyone who endures jail time for any reason, whether rightfully or wrongfully, is confronted with serious demons in a prison. In the case of Jeffrey Deskovic and everything he encountered, when he was released from prison, he entered a life of uncertainty and fear. That is how many adolescents who enter jail end up if they leave. Many juveniles do not leave because further evidence does not arise on their behalf. However, if an adolescent is released, he or she is faced with challenges that can be just as terrifying as the ones in prison. For example, Jeffrey Deskovic had no idea what to do with his life after his release. He was not ready to work, get a house, pay bills or do anything of the sort because he had never done such things before.
In the end, Jeffrey Deskovic is just one example of the many adolescents who have endured mental pain because of someone else who was able to cover his or her tracks. There are adolescents all over the world who are faced with challenges that many adolescents could never imagine. Further examples, such as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and Tom in After, will be mentioned in the presentation and paper (and those examples can be found in my previous blog post). That is why it is important that evidence be conclusive because the psychological damage that is done to an adolescent for being wrongly convicted is unbearable and savage.