Seventeen-year-old Liam Q. joined the U.S. Navy to see the world. His test scores marked him for further training in a technical specialty, but Liam wanted to steer an aircraft carrier, so the navy made him a helmsman. As every sailor knows, shore leave is the most dangerous part of any cruise, and this turned out to be true for Liam. He fell in love with an older woman and was convicted of shooting her husband. In 1983, at the age of 19, he embarked on a different kind of cruise: a life sentence “up the river.”
At age 12 Lionel Tate killed his six-year-old playmate. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Five years later, in 2004, appellate courts overturned Tate’s conviction, and a plea bargain led to his release. But in 2005 he was arrested again for robbing a pizza delivery man, and he is now spending 30 years in prison.