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Oldest juvenile lifer was amazed by skyscrapers after spending 68 years in prison
Featured Image Credit: Juvenile-In-Justice/PA Dept. of Corrections

Oldest juvenile lifer was amazed by skyscrapers after spending 68 years in prison

Joseph Ligon spent 68 years behind bars - and was instantly struck by skyscrapers upon his release.

The oldest juvenile lifer who was released from prison at the age of 83 was amazed by skyscrapers after spending 68 years behind bars.

Joseph Ligon was jailed in 1953 at the age of 15 for murder after many robberies and attacks with a group of drunken teenagers in Philadelphia.

Ligon left Charles Pitts, 60, and Jackson Hamm, 65 dead, while six others were injured from stab wounds.

The former prisoner refused to apply for parole as he denies ever killing anyone.

Ligon spent a staggering 68 years behind bars, making him the oldest juvenile lifer in the US.

However, he was released from the State Correctional Institution Phoenix in 2021 - making him a free man for the first time since he was a teenager.

Joseph Ligon pictured in 1963.
State Correctional Institution at PCH

And just think how the world had changed in the time Ligon spent behind bars?

I think the advancement in technology is an obvious one, as no one would have even heard of a mobile phone back in the 1950s.

Of course, the world has seen many conflicts and wars in that time, while our general standard of living is drastically different.

For Ligon though, the thing that caught his eye was the skyline.

"I’m looking at all the tall buildings. This is all new to me. This never existed," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

But while that impressed him, Ligon found it 'unsettling' that Eastern State Penitentiary, where he was once imprisoned, is now a museum and Halloween attraction.

"That don’t suit my tastes," he added to the outlet.

After being in prison for such a long time, Ligon needed help with the transition to life post behind bars.

The juvenile prisoner was amazed by skyscrapers.

The Philadelphia's Youth Sentencing & Re-entry Project (YSRP) were one of the groups to offer a hand.

Eleanor Myers, a senior adviser at the project, told the Daily Mail: "As much as the world has changed since Mr Ligon first went to prison, he has also changed. His experience in coming back is basically as a new man.

"He is incredibly cheerful and amazed at the changes in Philadelphia since 1953, in particular the tall buildings.

"He has talked about those in his family who are gone and cannot be together for his homecoming. He seems to miss them especially."

Ligon is set to celebrate his 86th birthday in May.

Topics: Crime, US News