Convicted Michigan murderer Nathaniel Abraham had a strong support system when he walked out of a juvenile detention facility last year, including an apartment, access to full college tuition, and a network of social workers who were eager to help him find a job and reintegrate into society. That wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble with the law, reports the Detroit News. Abraham, 22, — a killer at age 11 who has been closely watched as a national symbol of the challenges facing the juvenile justice system — was arrested after an alleged drug deal early Friday morning in the parking lot of a gas station. Police said he had 254 Ecstasy pills in his possession.
The network of people who put their faith in Abraham’s ability to turn his life around was keenly disappointed. Abraham made headlines when he became the youngest person in Michigan to be charged as an adult for the 1997 shooting of 18-year-old Ronnie Greene. Making opportunities available to offenders and having a support system is not enough to rehabilitate someone, criminal justice experts say. In order to truly be rehabilitated, offenders must change their core belief systems — and prosecutors and others say they never thought Abraham owned up to his crime and changed his way of thinking. A community corrections official said she saw a red flag when Abraham walked out of jail wearing a fur coat, ivory fedora and ivory-and-hot-pink pinstriped suit with matching pink tie and shoes.