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Author Dwayne Betts On Coming Of Age In Prison


Monday, February 27, 2017

Dwayne Betts entered an adult prison at the age of 16 and stayed there for eight years. He now has a law degree from Yale, is a writer, and is trying to change minds about the juvenile system.

Dwayne Betts’ coming of age story isn’t one you might dream up for your own child. As a teen, an honors student, he got involved with the wrong crowd, and one night, committed a crime that would alter the course of his life.

He was in prison until the age of 24, where he got his high school diploma, endured a significant amount of time in solitary confinement, and discovered a love for reading- and for writing- that shaped the life he has now.

Dwayne Betts is coming to Charlotte to tell his story to members of the the Council for Children’s Rights, who, among other things, work to help juveniles in the justice system and tries to improve outcomes for those children.

Dwayne Betts shares his story with Mike Collins and we hear what initiatives the local Council for Children’s Rights is working on here in Mecklenburg County to help teens who may be in similar circumstances.


Dwayne Betts, poet, author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison

Bob Simmons, Executive Director of the Council for Children’s Rights


For information about Dwayne Betts' appearance in Charlotte tonight under the auspices of the Council for Children's Rights, click here

Related Reading:

Dwayne Betts' latest book of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era

Interview from 2015 with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air