Robert Siegel

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Great Britain will vote Thursday on whether to remain in the European Union or to leave it, to exit — hence the name for the vote: "Brexit."

Ever since the United Kingdom joined the European Union's precursor, the Common Market, in 1973, it has been a rocky relationship. So before going to Britain, I visited a country where the relationship with the EU is anything but rocky, to see how the EU works at its best — and whether it might ever work that well for the United Kingdom.

When Karriem Saleem El-Amin went to prison in 1971 for the murder of Baltimore grocer David Lermer during a robbery, he was an 18-year-old killer named William Collins.

In 2013, El-Amin left prison after serving 42 years, 3 months and 3 days. Today, he is 60 years old, back in the city of his youth, converted to Islam, subdued by age and often baffled by the experience of freedom.

Little things, like dining in a restaurant, can be disorienting.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a story about justice and the passage of time. It's about a mass release of people sentenced to life in prison in the state of Maryland decades ago.

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