‘So This Is What a Murderer Looks Like’

A defense lawyer’s photos of four women re-entering society.

Sara Bennett has been a criminal defense lawyer in New York for 30 years. She has represented men and women who have committed terrible acts; many have spent decades in prison, some have died there. “The longer you’re an attorney the more serious your cases are,” she said, recalling a 16-year-old client who was sentenced to life without parole for murder. “I never forgot him.” “When you send people away for life,’’ she says, “you’re saying there’s no hope. That they’ll never be rehabilitated.” And yet, she adds, “People are more than their worst act. People are complicated.”It was after completing a photography project a couple of years ago that Bennett, now 59, realized that her images could reveal what years before judges and juries could not: a more complete picture of ordinary lives upended by extraordinary circumstances.Each of her subjects was convicted of murder, she said, and “I want people to think, ‘So this is what a murderer looks like’.”

“Life After Life Inside” is on view at The Passage Gallery at the State University of New York, Purchase until October 18, 2015.

Source: The Marshall Project

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