Letters from Community: Loved Ones of Juvenile Lifers

The first submission in a series.

My name is Anabel Perez and I would like to tell you a little about the life of a prisoner’s mother.  My son is currently serving life in prison.

I was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. When I was nine years old, we moved to the South Side of Chicago. I had my first child at 16 years old, and was not able to finish high school. At the young age of 21, I already had my three sons. They’re not only handsome, but smart, clean, and can cook a meal, too.

My first devastating experience was when their dad passed away. My sons were only toddlers. I was left to be both Mom and Dad to my boys. Here I was, 21 years old, single, with three boys to take care of, not knowing how I would survive. Our lives were hard, and my boys grew up without a father figure.

anabel young mother _Page_1

 Ms. Perez and J. in the hospital after giving birth.


Letters from Prison: Perspective of a Juvenile Lifer

The second submission in a series. 

There are approximately 100 individuals serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences in Illinois for homicide offenses that occurred while they were children. As part of it’s work on this issue, the Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children reached out to some of the individuals serving the sentence to learn about their experiences in prison and their thoughts on receiving a life sentence at a young age.

The second submission is from an African American male who was sentenced to mandatory juvenile life without parole when he was 17 years old. He is from a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

He has served over two decades of his life sentence so far. Today, he is 40 years old.


Q: What does it feel like to serve a JLWOP sentence, daily and in the long-term?

A: It feels like your days have no value or meaning. Your tomorrow feels dark and hopeless like walking dead.

Q: From your perspective and experiences, what is unique about a JLWOP sentence?

A: Your life is over before you really know yourself or what’s important to you. There is no chance to prove or show the growth of adulthood. That the man I am today is nothing like the child I was yesterday.

April 2014 Events

Do you know about an event in Chicago that relates to juvenile justice? Email cfjcmedia@gmail.com with the details!

Wednesday, April 2nd

RJ label for newsletter


Restorative Justice Forum
6:30pm – 9pm
Loyola University Campus, Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan Rd.

What is restorative justice philosophy and practice? How can it benefit our youth, schools, and communities?

Aldermans Osterman, Moore, and Cappleman are hosting a forum to explore all aspects of restorative justice philosophy and practice as it relates to youth. Join community leaders, teachers, youth, safety officials, police officers and restorative justice practitioners in the discussion. Ultimately, we are asking how these principles can reduce recidivism rates, expulsions and suspensions, court and incarceration costs, and offer the promise of a more effective way to build safer and stronger communities.

Featuring three panels, and a performance by Kuumba Lynx!

Ask An Advocate: Angela Vigil

For the past 11 years, Angela Vigil has been Director of Pro Bono and Community Service of North America at the law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP. As a partner in the firm, she manages the thousands of volunteer hours spent on pro bono cases by the firm’s 700 lawyers in the USA and Canada. Vigil also collaborates with 73 Baker & McKenzie offices worldwide. She maintains a children’s law practice in Miami that handles child welfare, trafficking, and criminal cases. Additionally, Vigil performs human rights advocacy through appeals, public international law cases, and constitutional development. She is a Northwestern University School of Law alumna, and formerly served as an attorney, director, and clinical teacher at the CFJC, where she founded, directed and managed legal intake and practice. She still works very closely with the clinic and the CFJC in coordinating pro bono cases.

angela vigil