East High students hear message from man who changed the justice system

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Because of his case, the Supreme Court ruled it's unconstitutional for a child under 17 to be sentenced to life in prison

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Students at East High sat in on a message from a man who changed the justice system forever.

Kuntrell Jackson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at just 14 years old. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court and he was released from prison after serving 16 and a half years. 

It was decided that to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison was cruel and unusual punishment.

Because of his case, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for a child under the age of 17 to be sentenced to life in prison. 

Thursday, he spoke to the students about his experience and what he learned from it all.

“He tried to like, inspire kids here, you know to make good choices and think about what you do, before you actually do it,” said East High student Jailenette Morales.

He talked to the kids about the importance of standing up to make the right decision, even when your peers don’t agree. 

Students were able to ask questions as well. Many of them asked about his time in prison and how he felt when he was able to come home.

“A lot of the students here, they need that. That inspiration and like that, they need that talk,” Morales said. 

This is Jackson’s first time in Youngstown. He also spoke to students at Youngstown Rayen Early College and students at Chaney High School.

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