Anlyn Addis was in college thinking about her path in life when she had a chance meeting with a family friend who introduced her to Deborah LaBelle. As an intern at the Law Offices of Deborah LaBelle, she discovered her calling while working on behalf of youth who were sentenced to life without parole. As an attorney with the LaBelle firm and the ACLU of Michigan’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative, Anlyn’s work focuses on the human and civil rights of children in the criminal justice system and detention. Her experience on youth justice issues extends beyond the courtroom as she was the national representative to the UN Committee Against Torture for issues affecting youth and co-authored Basic Decency: Protecting the Human Rights of Children (2012).
These youth have just as much, if not more, to contribute to life and their communities as everybody else. I believe that we owe it to them to make up for the systems that led to their incarceration and denied them their childhood.
We owe it to them and to our communities not only to receive them, but to recognize their resilience and honor their potential. This is our chance to make it right.