You can’t treat teenagers like children; they need to held accountable for what they do, he says. That’s when he’s in his lock-em-up mood, saying that 17-year-olds who make “stupid” choices deserve the ACI.
But the next moment, he’s musing on what it takes to make a difference in a young person’s life: a place to turn to, people to look up to, a chance for a job: “Just a little push and a little support, that’s all it takes for a kid to get off the street.”
Akinbi remains disturbed by the idea of a 16-year-old in the ACI, including Jeffrey Santos, sentenced last year to serve 20 years for second-degree murder in Barry Ferrell’s death.
“In my heart right now, like, I miss Barry to death,” Akinbi says. But he doesn’t think the ACI is the place for his killer, at least until he’s older. “I wouldn’t want to do that to him at 16. I’d at least want him to get like counseling to deal with like what he’d done, like: ‘Okay, you know, you’ve killed this person.’ ”
In September, Akinbi will be out of Providence, at Dean College in Massachusetts, with possible plans to transfer to Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, or the University of Maryland. Maybe he’ll get into marketing.
Along the way, he knows that he still has ties to his boyhood in Providence. He’s already figured out what he can do if he runs into rough sledding this fall. He’s got everyone’s phone numbers, cell numbers, e-mails. His mom’s, P.J.’s and others at the institute.
“I’m going to call them on a daily basis, if I get caught up in a class or something at school,” Akinbi declares. “It’s not over for them. They are not done with me. That’s the whole point.”
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Brian C. Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
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