At 17, Sara Kruzan was sentenced to die in prison after she fatally shot the man who had sexually trafficked and physically abused her for years. In this interview with JJIE, Sara discusses the trauma she experienced in her early home life, the grooming for trafficking that began when she was 11 and the years that followed. She also speaks about losing respect in authority figures,  after many came to her as clients. Sara speaks candidly about her arrest and trial — during which neither witnesses nor evidence were offered in her defense.

Though she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted Sara’s sentence in 2013, and she was resentenced. Sara left prison on October 31, 2014.

Sara is now an advocate for ending life without parole for children and for taking trauma and other factors into account when sentencing young people.

from Juvenile Justice Information Exchange