Aaron "Abd' Allah Lateef" Phillips is a free man after 30 years in prison.
Recently, our nonprofit partner, Juvenile Law Center, reflected on the anniversary of the monumental Montgomery v. Louisiana Supreme Court decision which retroactively banned mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles.
Juvenile Law Center’s Marsha Levick had co-counseled the case, working to destroy the invisibility cloak that left hundreds of Pennsylvanian children, including children tried as adults, in the dark. “Death by incarceration” is all too common for criminal acts that result in homicide. Now, as Lateef recalls, those sentences are deemed “cruel and unusual punishment” for persons under the age of 18.
Thanks to the legal footwork of our nonprofit partner, Lateef could become a part of society once again. He welcomed the ability to engage the community around him and earn an honest living. He reminisces on how he felt in prison and how it had effectively reformed how he wanted to lead his life – a life he would have from outside of an iron cell, in part, due to the aid provided to the Juvenile Law Center by the Bar Foundation. Lateef states that there are thousands of men and women in the same situation as him all across the nation and dreams of a day when a balance between reform and humanity can be achieved.