Sentenced to Life as a Juvenile: Journeys of Self-Discovery — POSTPONED

*Please note that this event has been postponed until further notice. If you would like to be notified when the event is rescheduled, please provide your contact info below.*

The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College and the Student Council of John Jay College are proud to present “Sentenced to Life as a Juvenile: Journeys of Self-Discovery,” a conversation on juvenile-life-without-parole (JLWOP) with Lawrence Bartley, Luis Gonzalez, and Roslyn Smith—three individuals sentenced to life in prison while they were still juveniles.
Although 23 states and the District of Columbia have banned life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles, there are approximately 2,500 people in the United States currently serving JLWOP sentences. The United States is the only country in the world that still sentences juveniles to life in prison without the parole. Learn more about JLWOP through the lens of our speakers’ experiences being sentenced, spending decades in prison, and ultimately transforming their lives.

This event is sponsored by PRI’s Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative and College Initiative.


Luis Suave Gonzalez is a graduate from Villanova University, Director of NuStop Resource Center, a 2014 TED talk presenter, muralist, writer, and community activist, helping returning citizens acclimate themselves back into the community. He has been featured on Latino USA on NPR, and on “In the Thick.” He is the co-host of “From the Ivory Tower to the Street A Justice Conversation” on USALA Radio. He is a public speaker, who has spoken on the subject of mass incarceration in Universities in the USA. He’s a 2018 Art for Justice Fellow, and a 2018 Philadelphia TEDx presenter.
Roslyn D. Smith is a Program Manager for VDAY, a nonprofit organization that works to end violence against women and girls. While incarcerated, she received her Bachelor’s Degree and developed the curriculum for, and taught, parenting classes for mothers in prison. Roslyn has written a number of blogs on her experiences and has been a featured speaker to individuals and groups in both academic and professional settings. She has also collaborated in brainstorming sessions with the Osborne Association, Columbia University, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Reentry Program, and other criminal justice reform organizations. She has also been featured in a documentary entitled, “What I Want My Words to Do to You,” which looks at a writing workshop at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility led by playwright Eve Ensler. After 39 years in prison, Roslyn now devotes her time between her daughter and her advocacy work, using her experience of incarceration as a vehicle for her work as a criminal justice reform advocate.
Lawrence Bartley is the Director of  “News Inside” for The Marshall Project. He holds an advanced degree in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary and a B.S. from Mercy College. He serves as a Board of Directors member for Prisoner Legal Services and Rehabilitation Through the Arts. He is also on the advisory board for the Parole Preparation Project and Panacea Video. Previously, Lawrence co-founded Forgotten Voices and its successor Voices From Within, which highlights remorse and redemption and works to alter perceptions through video. Lawrence is an accomplished public speaker and has provided multimedia content for NBC Nightly News; MSNBC; the Emmy-winning three-part series “Drama in the Big House;" NPR’s “All Things Considered;” WNYC’s “Death, Sex, and Money” podcast; and his own TED Talk, “Power of a Parents Voice.”