(CBS DETROIT)- Last week newly appointed Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced her office will file re-sentencing notices to 22 inmates currently serving a life sentence for a crime committed as a juvenile. Kimberly Woodson a former ‘juvenile lifer’ says she’s glad others will get a second chance as she did, and says she lives every day with a terrible decision she made as a child.

“I should have stood up, I should have stopped it and I didn’t”

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Kimberly Woodson, former ‘Juvenile Lifer’ turned advocate

Now 50, Woodson says at the age of 17 she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a house firebombing that unintentionally killed an elderly woman. She says although she do not commit the actually crime she was associate with a group that she knew would carry out the act and says had she spoken up, her life would have turned out much different. She was re-sentenced in Wayne County and released after serving 29 years in prison. Since given a 2nd chance in 2017 she’s dedicated her life to fighting for ‘juvenile lifers’.

“And I’m going to stand up for those who don’t have a voice and that’s what I vow to do because I was quiet and it cost her, her life”

Like Woodson, 58 year old Ronnie Waters believes juveniles do not have the mental capacity to understand the consequences of their actions, and therefore should not spend their entire lives in prison. After serving 40 years for a crime committed at 17 years old, Waters was re-sentenced in Oakland County and released in 2020.

Waters pictured with his wife Felicia Tyson Waters, on left while in prison in 1982, on the right after being released in 2020

 

“When I got that chance to actually come out and get involved with people or organizations who though like it thought.”

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Both Waters and Woodson continues to work with organizations like Michigan Liberation and have actively met with government leaders in hopes of having all “juvenile lifers” resentenced in Michigan.

Waters pictured with members of the Michigan Liberation Organization and Senator Gary Peters

 

“every child deserves a second chance” Says Woodson

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