Steven Glaze, 26, under intensive supervised release from a Minnesota prison after 11 years behind bars for attempted murder, faces the challenge of finding work and a foothold in the community, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He was one of the first Minnesota teens sentenced after a 1995 change in state law made it easier for juveniles to be tried as adults. Under the revised law, 16- or 17-year-olds charged with serious violent crimes are automatically tried as adults. For 14- and 15-year-olds, a judicial waiver hearing is required. Since his conviction, the number of juveniles tried as adults has soared. In 1994, 85 minors were incarcerated in Minnesota while serving adult sentences. As of Jan. 1, 2006, that number had jumped to 326.
Like Glaze, many of them will be locked up as children. Many will be released as adults with little understanding of how to conduct their lives in the adult world. Last December, Glaze walked out of prison with a prison-issue television set and $100. After four months of job searching and adjusting to his new life outside prison, his job search fruitless, none of that is paying off now. Nothing is clicking. The other day, he received a rejection letter – by mail. He never thought they came that way. At a job fair, some of the companies are looking for clerical help, others for drivers, salesmen and retail workers. Glaze is confident he could handle all those jobs, perhaps even blindfolded. “You will be hearing from us in the next few days, Steven. Thanks,” says a Cingular recruiter, promising to call. But weeks pass, and no one does.