By Tara Smith
Mariyah Zeigler was just 16 years old when she was convicted of first-degree robbery and sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison in Westchester County. She recounted a childhood marred by domestic abuse, crime and bullying at school during a public hearing on criminal justice reform Friday at Touro Law Center in Central Islip. “Prison saved me. I spent the rest of my childhood growing up there,” Ms. Zeigler said. “Things that seemed impossible in the real world, I was attaining behind the wall.” Several other women shared similar testimony about programs in prison that showed them a better way of life.