Jeff Coats was 14 years old when he kidnapped David Grenier. 20 years later, Jeff and David reflect on the crime and how it transformed their lives.
In the 1970s and 80s, criminologists on the right and the left abandoned the goal of rehabilitating criminals. Then, they started to predict that a wave of juvenile ‘superpredators’ would cause a ‘bloodbath’ on American streets. In response, lawmakers in nearly every state enacted a range of anti-crime policies that put an unprecedented number of kids like Jeff behind bars.
The researchers turned out to be wrong, but the legislation remains. What does Jeff’s life have to teach us about crime, punishment, adolescence, and the human capacity for change?
“Superpredator Revisited” is the first episode from in our series called ‘Rethinking Punishment.’ It is a collaboration between the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights and Cited, a new podcast from the University of British Columbia.