Last night I watched a documentary called “The Central Park Five.” This documentary was about how five black and Latino teenage boys who were wrongly accused of assaulting and raping a white woman jogging in central park. The night of the “Central Park Jogger” case, assaults and robberies were taking place in the park, but these boys knew nothing about the female jogger in the park that night. They were arrested that night, and when they were tried in court, they were pressured into giving false confessions about committing the crime.
Four out of the five boys pleaded guilty in court, though these false confessions. Because of this wrong accusation of the crime, many people began to demonstrate hatred towards these boys by viewing them as bad people, and labeling them as sex offenders. The female jogger, Trisha Meili, went to the court hearing and claimed she didn’t remember the details of her assault that night.
The media blew up on this “Central Park Jogger” case, destroying the reputations of these boys. Many years of their youth were spent in prison, when they should have been spending their lives as free men.
What really stood out to me, was when one of the men said he was unable to find a job because no one wanted to hire a person who was convicted of a felony. With very little education or training in essential skills for jobs, that man had to rely on selling drugs as a way of make money. Selling drugs was the only thing he knew how to do.
This reminds me of the “school to prison pipeline”. Due to a lack of skills or education, people have no other choice but to resort to making money using illegal methods; thus getting them involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
It wasn’t until Matias Reyes confessed to the crime, that the central park five were found innocent. Since they spent so much of their youth in prison, there was a large gap in in their lives. After being released, they were expected to return to their lives and continue from where they left off.
I highly recommend watching this documentary. If anyone else has seen this documentary, and be sure to let me know what you took away from it.