How should we treat juveniles who commit serious crimes?
Netflix has a documentary called “They Called Us Monsters” that follows three teenagers who have been sent to a Los Angeles juvenile detention facility. The three boys have been convicted of serious charges, including attempted murder and first-degree murder. The director of the film is Ben Lear, Norman Lear’s 28-year-old son, who found out about the boys after researching for a scripted project he had in mind about the prison system. According to PEOPLE, after Lear met the teenagers, he knew that he wanted to do a documentary exploring the legitimacy and impact of giving such young people long-term sentences.
“I remember being nervous and not knowing what to expect, and being immediately put at ease when I met all of them,” Lear told PEOPLE. “They were so young and ‘teenagery’ in every way, I just felt an immediate affinity.” Lear added: “I realized I hadn’t seen these kids depicted on film before.”
With that in mind, Lear went to the juvenile detention center and got the stories of the boys and of some of their victims. You can watch the documentary on Netflix to get the full story.
You can watch a little bit about one of the teenagers’ story below.