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Life Beyond Bars: One Man’s Journey From Prison to College

Around midnight on June 30, 1998, Juan Echevarria, a 23-year-old principal in a drug crew, ran into a crack dealer on a Harlem street corner. What ensued, he later told the police, was an argument over money. In those days, Mr. Echevarria would case New York City in a bulletproof vest, often armed with a handgun and sometimes cocaine and cash, overseeing dealers who sold on the streets and in the lobbies of Harlem and Brooklyn apartment buildings.