Darrell Turner is only 22, but he’s already served time in prison for second degree mυrder. Turner, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida, served two years in jail stemming from a crime he participated in when he was only 16.
“I don’t want to see them up here in a box or downtown in a jail cell,” Turner told News4Jax.
Turner doesn’t want to see teenagers end up with a felony record by the time they’re 18, or at all for that matter, so he’s stepping up to do what he can.
“I watched my mother faint in the courtroom when she heard I was facing 25 to life,” Turner said. “So I learned when you take out someone else’s loved one, your loved one gets taken out as well.”
Turner was released from prison in 2011 and now that he has his life back, he wants to help young people just like him. With that mission in mind, he’s organizing a Love and Basketball Life Fair at Highlands Middle School on July 26. He hopes to get to know some young people and steer them in the right direction.
“I just say, ‘God be with you,’ and I hope I can speak with you and change your state of mind,” Turner said. “But gun viοlence is not the way to go.”
Community and church leaders are also involved with the fair and will bring in “motivational speakers, musical artists and job placement specialists.”
A recent study found that 37 percent of young African-American men who didn’t finish high school were in jail or prison, with only 26 percent employed.