Negotiating the prison-visiting entry procedure is a grim and unforgiving experience. After getting over the access hurdles, we visit with featured juvenile lifer, Giovanni Reid, at Graterford State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, and discover that the atmosphere in the prisoners’ confined basement visiting room is more congenial than in the open reception area, upstairs. Giovanni is hearty, healthy and upbeat, belying the oppressive environment in which he has lived for the past 25 years.
The next morning, in Center City Philadelphia criminal court, a status hearing is held on Giovanni, kicking off the judicial and administrative process of his being resentenced under January’s Montgomery vs. Louisiana SCOTUS ruling. This ruling made retroactive the 2012 Miller vs. Alabama SCOTUS ruling against mandatory Life Without Parole for juveniles. Because Giovanni was 16 at the time of his arrest, he is eligible for a new sentence that is more in keeping with that juvenile status, and which gives him the possibility of release, very soon. Giovanni’s dad, 85-year-old “Pop” Jimmy Reid, attends the hearing, and definitely has a new pep in his stride.
La Tasha Williams, Giovanni’s long-term advocate, breaks down the resentencing process for us, and explains the significance of the ongoing Qu’eed Batts appeal against his own resentencing to juvenile Life Without Parole.
Intro / Outro: Jeffrey Deskovic
Music: Chameleon Catholics – Where’s Cush?; It’s Like Trying to Speak Swahili with Gandhi