Jeremy Armstrong, Anticipating Life Outside Prison

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Jeremy Armstrong

Jeremy Armstrong, in the library of the State Correctional Institution in Oshkosh, Wis. Julia Buckley, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Julia Buckley, NPR

A Youth Spent in Prison

Hear Robert Siegel's interviews with Jeremy Armstrong.

Eight years ago, when he was 15, Jeremy Armstrong shot and killed his father's roommate and drug dealer. Tried as an adult, Armstrong was convicted of reckless homicide.

In a series of reports over the years since, Robert Siegel interviewed Armstrong as he moved through the Wisconsin legal system. Armstrong has 12 years remaining on his 20-year prison sentence, but he's about to leave the State Correctional Institution in Oshkosh after being approved for parole.

Of course, Armstrong, now 23, was happy to learn of his upcoming freedom, but says the emotion he most felt was fear.

"I was truly, honestly prepared to do 5 to 10 more years," Armstrong tells Siegel in an interview at the prison. "But now it's like, 'Wow, I'm going to be free' and I don't want to let anybody down. I don't want to let myself down, first. But I don't want to let [down] the people that gave me this break.... And I don't want to let the guys in here down because they need hope."

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