Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole

Watch Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole

  • 2019
  • 2 Seasons
  • 7.1  (172)

Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole is a gripping reality television show that revolves around young people who were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for committing heinous crimes. The show follows three convicts, Preston Chavers, James Wiley, and Bobby Gonzales, and their respective legal teams as they seek a path to freedom.

The documentary starts by examining the legal landscape surrounding juvenile life sentences. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders are unconstitutional. This landmark decision paved the way for many young prisoners to be considered for parole or sentence reduction. The show explores whether these once-young offenders can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, and whether they deserve a second chance.

One of the convicts featured on the show is Preston Chavers, who was sentenced to life at the age of 15 for killing his grandfather. He is now in his 30s and has spent the majority of his life behind bars. Despite his past, Preston is a model prisoner who has taken advantage of every opportunity for rehabilitation. He has earned a degree, completed various programs, and mentors younger inmates. Preston's legal team is determined to convince the parole board that he has been transformed and is ready to re-enter society.

Another convict on the show is James Wiley, who was sentenced to life at the age of 16 for murdering another teenager. James has already served more than two decades in prison and has become a respected leader among his fellow inmates. He has also taken steps to better himself by enrolling in college courses and participating in various programs. However, James's legal team faces an uphill battle as they try to convince the parole board that he has truly changed and is no longer a danger to society.

The final convict featured on the show is Bobby Gonzales, who was sentenced to life at the age of 17 for his role in a gang-related murder. Bobby's case is particularly complex because he was technically not the shooter, but rather an accomplice. Despite this, he was still given a life sentence without parole. Bobby has spent the past two decades in prison, and during that time, he has been recognized for his leadership skills and for his efforts to help others. His legal team believes that he is ready to be released and is working hard to convince the parole board.

Throughout the series, viewers get an inside look at life in prison, as well as the legal and emotional struggles faced by the convicts and their families. The show also delves into the broader issues surrounding juvenile life sentences, such as racial disparities and the long-term effects of trauma.

Overall, Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged show that asks difficult questions about justice and rehabilitation. It challenges viewers to consider whether young offenders who have committed violent crimes can truly change, and whether society should give them the chance to do so. The show also shows us the harsh conditions of a juvenile prison and the negative impact these sentences can have on an individual's life. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in the criminal justice system and its impact on young individuals.

Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (19 episodes). The series first aired on April 30, 2019.

Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole
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The Malvo Effect
10. The Malvo Effect
October 7, 2021
Chronicles the "DC Sniper" murders, and the battle over sentencing one of the most notorious juvenile murderers in American history.
9. Miguel
October 7, 2021
Miguel Gaitan is serving life without parole, but his possibility of release is complicated by his denial of any participation in the murders.
The Incorrigibles
8. The Incorrigibles
September 30, 2021
This special offers an in-depth, side by side examination of two explosive cases involving juveniles initially sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. On re-examination of the cases, the courts determined that only one of the offenders could be deemed "permanently incorrigible", and that the other should be set free.
7. Richard
September 30, 2021
Richard Kinder was 17 when he and a friend committed a robbery that ended in a young woman's death, and the serious injury of her boyfriend. Now 65, Richard has served nearly 50 years of a life without parole sentence. A model inmate, Richard believes he has demonstrated his rehabilitation, but questions linger regarding the victim's recollection of who incited the violence that night.
6. Malcolm
September 23, 2021
Malcolm Thrower was 17 when he stabbed and killed Marilyn Russell, a neighborhood woman who had offered to help the homeless teen. Now 28 and serving a life without parole sentence, Malcolm hopes to earn an opportunity for a reduced sentence, and forgiveness from Marilyn's family.
5. Justin
September 23, 2021
What drives a teenage boy to kill his own father? Justin Long was only 15 years old when he violently killed his adoptive father, Hoyt Long. Justin believes he finally snapped after years of corporal punishment. His adoptive siblings paint a picture of a disturbed young man not fit to be in society. Justin hopes to obtain a resentencing hearing to prove them wrong.
4. Billy
September 16, 2021
16-year-old William Najar shot and killed Michael Decker, who was camping in the Phoenix desert. Now 38, Najar is facing an upcoming resentencing hearing. As the episode dives deeper into William's upbringing and family dysfunction, it reveals a troubled mind careening toward self-destruction.
3. Deon
September 9, 2021
Seventeen-year-old Deon Haynes was sentenced to life in prison for killing former classmate Christy Davis in her home. Now 47, Deon has been granted a resentencing hearing, but his continued claim of innocence has brought his capacity for rehabilitation into question.
2. Dana
September 2, 2021
Dana Barker was only 17 when she killed her former stepmother Brenda in 1994. Back then, the court failed to consider the role of her father Joe in the crime, and the circumstances that led her to murder. Now 44, Dana is fighting for a resentencing hearing, although the state of Oklahoma maintains her case does not qualify for consideration.
1. Shelton
August 26, 2021
Shelton Jackson was 17 when he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Thomas Maynard, who tragically left behind a week-old baby boy. Now 48, Jackson has been granted a resentencing hearing that could result in his release, something Maynard's widow Leesa vehemently opposes.
Where to Watch Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole
Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole is available for streaming on the A&E website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Philo, Amazon, Hulu, A&E, Sling, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    April 30, 2019
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (172)