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Reaching boys who know the system is unfair

March 29th, 2012 by Carrie Gleason

steven truscott

Boys usually know what it’s like to be accused of something they didn’t do. Most have a pretty strong innate sense of what’s fair.

Kids who have had encounters with police officers and social workers often feel they’ve been treated unfairly.

If you are trying to reach boys with this attitude, you might be interested in trying this approach.

Offer them a short, readable paperback about a true Canadian story – of a boy 14 years old, who was actually sentenced to hang. Thing is, he was innocent. He had been convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. And not just once: the Supreme Court of Canada reheard his case and confirmed his conviction.

The case is a famous one, the story of Steven Truscott. It happened just 50 years ago. The book you can offer boys about Steven is a new one, in a new series we’ve launched called Real Justice.

And the compelling thing about this story is that we now know definitely that Steven was innocent. He was absolved of any involvement in the murder, and awarded millions of dollars in compensation when a new trial proved his innocence. But that was after spending several years in jail.

While this new book tells this astonishing and extreme story of the unfairness that the judicial system can dish out, it also offers hope. Ultimately the courts and the government did the right thing. They recognized their error, apologized, and compensated Steven.

Bill Swan has written this new book (Real Justice: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death) in a narrative style, at a relatively low reading level. It’s a book the most reluctant reader in the same age group as Steven Truscott will be able to pick up and relate to.


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