His First Year of a Second Chance

Edward Sanders was just 17 when he was told that he would never be a free man. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole as an accessory to a homicide, even though he never personally hurt anyone or even pulled the trigger of a gun. That happened in 1975.

I can’t imagine what that moment must have been like, but Sanders said it was “devastating,” and that he relived it every day for the next 42 years. But even so, he never lost hope that he would one day be free again, no matter what the judge said.

“I had hope through a nourishing relationship with my creator,” Sanders said. “I looked for ways to serve others. Anytime I felt like there was no hope for me, I looked for ways to give hope to others.”

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2012 that said that it was “cruel and unusual punishment” to sentence juveniles to life without parole, and therefore unconstitutional, brought a ray of hope in to Sanders’ world. Still, it would take another four years for Sanders to walk out of prison as a free man.

Take a moment to get to know Sanders and then read his own words about is first year of freedom.

edward_sanders_at_detroit_community_meeting
Edward Sanders, courtesy Safe & Just Michigan.

I believe in second chances. It’s what we all want for ourselves. None of us want to be forever known for our worst moment. We all have the ability to move on from that moment, and the vast majority of us do.

I’ve had my second chance. In fact, I’ve had many of them. Maybe you have, too. I’m glad Sanders finally got his, too.

Via Safe & Just Michigan: Former Juvenile Lifer Reflects on His First Year of Freedom

3 Replies to “His First Year of a Second Chance”

    1. I try to put myself in his shoes and I don’t know if I would come out as well as he did. I think being told I have no way forward for 42 years might break me, to be honest. I’m glad all the juvenile lifers will get their chance. It really is an injustice to throw away the key on a kid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s so true, at first thought I don’t know who would have the personal resolve to keep going and going for decades. I share your honesty: I don’t know if I’d remain sane facing what he did. Many of the “troubled” children simply need love, direction, and identity.

        Like

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