The Importance of Education in One's Life as Shown in When They See Us

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Building family after such a life is difficult and it is tough to find a person who can accept them and love them despite everything and each of the ‘exonerated five’, except Wise, has accomplished it. Wise is still the only one who is not married and does not have kids and all things considered, his toughest experience in prison has an impact on the fact that he still can not find his beloved one. Making a whole new family is a challenging process for everyone and all four boys undergo it, but the damage which is done to Wise is much greater and he is the only one left who does not have any family. During the last minutes of the series, it is shown where the boys are right now, their family situation and their achievements. On the slides, it is written how each of the boys is married and has kids, but for Wise it does not say anything in terms of his family, meaning that he is still single (When They See Us). This fact is significant to society because it shows how injustice can actually ruin one’s life. The boys are wrongfully accused and they have to pay for the crime they did not commit. That mistake costs Wise his healthy life and his family. The justice system takes everything from him, even his charm and ability to love. He has a girlfriend before the case, but then, everything changes inside of him and he is not that person that he used to be. As shown above, Wise’s family status differs from other boys’ and the reason behind it is the damage which the justice system does to Wise and it forever changes him, making him unable to make a new family and love again.

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Unlike Wise, Richardson has a smoother experience, which helps him with creating the new family and putting the past behind him. Richardson’s outcome family-wise is more beneficial because his mental health is much better right after prison and it is due to the fact that he does not spend the majority of his time in solitary. On the very last slides in the movie, it is clearly seen where each of the boys is right now, and Richardson seems to be just in the right place, “Kevin Richardson resides in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters”(When They See Us). The quote proves that Richardson has a healthy outcome and it is important to realize how difficult it is for him to build a new family after everything. The key point is that he is able to love despite the fact that it has been killed inside of him for several years and nevertheless, he stands up against it and he regains his life back again. Richardson’s healthier outcome seems to be proven, he has a family that Wise does not have and that makes him look more “accommodated” to the new life compared to Wise. There is a possibility that Wise does not want a family, however, it is most likely impossible because a person like him would like to have heirs in the person of children or if he, for instance, does not want to have children, he could at least give everything to his wife after his death. The possibility of him not willing to build a family is very little and the most reasonable cause for him not having any relationship is his rough experience in the past and that past has turned him into a completely different person. In Richardson’s case, his experience is not as rough and allowed him to stay the same person and he is not destroyed from the inside. To summarize, Richardson has a much smoother experience in the prison, which helps him stay the same person as before and not kill all the human feelings inside of him, which in the long run helps him to build a new family and get his life back.

Education is something that gives one the way to the world, it gives one an understanding of the world. The rape happens when the boys are from fourteen to sixteen years old, which is in the middle of their educational pathway and consequently, they all miss out on it and they do not graduate even from the high school at the age they should. Wise gets out of prison at the age of twenty-nine without any education because it was not available to him in the prison, “There’s no library here”(When They See Us). This quote is important because it makes one question the positive effect of the prisons. The minimum age requirement is sixteen years old for the adult facility and at that age, the brain is not fully developed yet and not having at least a library is inhumane. The reason why Wise still does not have a high school diploma is understandable, he barely read one book inside the prison, so after thirteen years without any books or some resources of information it is unsurprising that he is not able to get educated, especially knowing that he has problems at school even before the incarceration. All things considered, the fact that Wise is not educated up until this moment is justified because the prison does not provide a single opportunity for the convicts to get themselves educated and after a long time served, prisoners become ineducable.

In the juvenile detention centre, the situation differs because there are minors only and the government understands how children should actually develop even inside the prison. Richardson, at the age of fourteen, is in the juvenile detention centre and he is there up until the age of twenty one and the government cares about the kids by providing them with the library and other educational resources. Richardson does not cut out on his education for a long period of time and even though he does not get a high school diploma at the age he is supposed to, “In 2017, Bronx Prep Academy honoured him with a high school diploma, 28 years after his arrest at age 14” (When They See Us). This example shows how the prison does not break Richardson, he still got educated no matter what. It is surely a tough process to start learning basics in adult age, however, Richardson realizes how education matters and he just has to fight for it. In Wise’s prison, there are no learning opportunities, so he has to spend thirteen years without any access to books. In Richardson’s case, he had access to the library and in fact, he spends only five and a half years, which is much less compared to Wise. Wise’s prison destroyed him to the point where he does not have anything left to fight and he just wants to live and be happy. Richardson, on the opposite end, wants to fight and get everything back what was taken away from him. The prison was not as tragic for him and it does not destroy him. In the final analysis, Richardson’s healthier outcome education-wise is proven by the fact that he does not give up and he keeps fighting for his life and he has already been extremely successful at it. 

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