A Son, A Mother, and Two Gun Crimes

Death, Sex & Money

By WNYC Studios

A Son, A Mother, and Two Gun Crimes

Wednesday, 4 April

We first heard Dwayne Betts' story in Caught, the new podcast series about juvenile justice from WNYC. Today, Dwayne is 37, a poet, father of two and a Yale Law School graduate. He's getting his PhD in law there now. But as a 16-year-old, Dwayne carjacked someone at a mall, and was sent to prison for almost a decade. "The fact that I was a child, I should have been treated differently," Dwayne told us. "And that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been punished, that that just means I should have been treated differently." 

Dwayne's mom, Gloria, was in the courtroom the day her son was sentenced. I wanted to talk with her and Dwayne together, about how she remembers that day and how their family got through the years of Dwayne being locked up. But Gloria told me that around the time that Dwayne was sentenced, suddenly "it just seemed like everything that happened in my life involved a gun." That was something she hid from Dwayne until years later, when he was released from prison. 

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