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Jeremy Armstrong, Anticipating Life Outside Prison

Jeremy Armstrong, in the library of the State Correctional Institution in Oshkosh, Wis.
Julia Buckley, NPR
Jeremy Armstrong, in the library of the State Correctional Institution in Oshkosh, Wis.

Eight years ago, when he was 15, Jeremy Armstrong shot and killed his father's roommate and drug dealer. Tried as an adult, Armstrong was convicted of reckless homicide.

In a series of reports over the years since, Robert Siegel interviewed Armstrong as he moved through the Wisconsin legal system. Armstrong has 12 years remaining on his 20-year prison sentence, but he's about to leave the State Correctional Institution in Oshkosh after being approved for parole.

Of course, Armstrong, now 23, was happy to learn of his upcoming freedom, but says the emotion he most felt was fear.

"I was truly, honestly prepared to do 5 to 10 more years," Armstrong tells Siegel in an interview at the prison. "But now it's like, 'Wow, I'm going to be free' and I don't want to let anybody down. I don't want to let myself down, first. But I don't want to let [down] the people that gave me this break.... And I don't want to let the guys in here down because they need hope."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.