After 68 years in prison, this offender is ‘amazed’ by how much the world has changed

After 68 years in prison, this offender is ‘amazed’ by how much the world has changed

What would shock you most about the world if you walked out of prison today having been there since 1953?

Joseph Ligon

When Joseph Ligon was 15 years old, he was jailed for life after he and some of his friends went on a robbery spree which ended in murder. Now, as he walks free at 83, Joseph is ‘amazed’ at just how much the world has changed.

During this robbery spree with some of his “drunken teenage friends”, Charles Pitts and Jackson Hamm succumbed to the stabbing wounds inflicted on them by Joseph and his friends. Six others were injured from stab wounds. During the court case and his time in jail, however, Joseph says he refused to apply for parole because he claims he has never killed anyone.

Being jailed for 68 years, Joseph made history by becoming the oldest juvenile lifer in America and he finally walked free from the State Correctional Institution Phoenix last week.

A lot can happen in 68 years and while he has tried to integrate into the new world, Joseph admits that it’s been an interesting few weeks since he left prison. He says that he is amazed at the volume of skyskrapers out there while also taking time to mourn family members who have passed away since the last time he saw them.

“I’m looking at all the tall buildings. This is all new to me. This never existed,” Joseph said in an interview shortly after being released. He adds that he finds 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 continues.

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Speaking to the Mail Online Eleanor Myers, a senior adviser, said: "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."

She adds that "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."

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Joseph’s release comes after The Supreme Court ruled that imposing life sentences on juveniles was unconstitutional in 2012. Pennsylvania was one of the states that refused to reduce the life sentences until they were forced to retroactively reduce sentences for those given life terms for juvenile crimes in 2016. Joseph was then resentenced to reduced prison terms that included lifetime parole. In November last year, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office ordered that Joseph either be re-sentenced or released within 90 days and he finally walked free on 11 February 2021.

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As Joseph officially becomes a free man this month, we want to know what would shock you the most about the world if you walked out of prison today having been there since 1953? Vic says he would be amazed by the concept of online shopping.

What would amaze you? Let Vic know in the comments section below.

Image courtesy: juvenileinjustice /Instagram 

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