Making Moves: Conference Call with Steve Reba

27 Aug 2015 Claire Bohrer

At 2:00PM yesterday, we had a conference call that changed the entire direction of our story . . .
Leonard has been in contact with Stephen Reba, a professor at Emory Law, who represents youth in the Georgia Juvenile Justice System who have been tried as adults.  In addition, Stephen is Director of the Barton Child Law & Policy Center and founder of the Appeal for Youth Clinic. Currently, at the clinic, there are six law students who are providing representation for youth in the system. Read more about Steve and the Center.  At the Appeal for Youth Clinic, Steve has 50-70 clients. Unfortunately, he is not currently representing any youth age 17 or younger, which we had originally wanted for a story.  He did mention one case that caught our interest, so we asked for more details.

The Youth
– Currently 30 years old
– Arrested and incarcerated @ age 13:  involved in a ride-along armed robbery
– In & out of foster care since a toddler with parents in prison; was taking medicine to prevent him from wetting bed at the time of arrest

His Story – What We Know So Far
– With another 13-year old boy in foster care (brother?), was involved in an armed robbery led by their 18-year old foster brother (biological son of foster mother); the two 13-year olds did not have guns; they each received radically different sentences.  Our youth received 40 years in prison; the other youth received a 20 years sentence.
– Currently in Calhoun State Prison

With this little information, we cannot create our story. Luckily, Steve said that we may be able to go with him to interview the prisoner. Since Steve has all the information on the youth, he will be scanning and sending us these documents so we can be familiar with his story, background, etc.

We also talked a little about what happens when incarcerated kids finally get out of prison. We discussed Alton’s case (From Jailhouse to Morehouse) and how, when he was released from prison, he completely turned his life around for the better. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case for most juveniles who are finally released from jail. Many people end up dying or committing suicide because they do not know how to function in this society, as they have grown so accustomed to the world of survival and violence in prison. Success stories for juveniles who finally get out of prison are very rare. When thinking about this in relation to our youth’s case, we must remember that he was put in jail at age 13 (he did not even make it to 7th grade) and has served 17 years of his sentence. He is 30 years old now.

Our Next Steps
Now, it’s the Journalism Team’s job to get this story rolling.

What We’ve Got So Far
We’ve got a story. We also will soon have all of the documents and information on the youth that we need. Now, we just need to read and become familiar with his story and then get in contact with people for interviews.
Possible People to Interview:
– Steve Reba
– Foster Parents
– Case Workers
– The Prisoner
– Other people who have worked with the prosoner
– All Locations: Schools, detention facilities, court tried at, where crime took place
– We also will need exterior shots or addresses to Google map for each place to guide inworld scenario development

Currently, we are awaiting the arrival of Steve’s case documents via an online drop location.  We journalists realize the need to get this story going as quickly as possible, so that our inworld builders can begin creating the virtual world machinima scenarios.