Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A jail cell. Inside, a man called Joseph Ligon sits. It’s a room he’s familiar with, in a building he knows all too well. You see, Ligon has resided there for over six decades. 63 years in jail, he’d all but given up on the idea of release after being given a life sentence for his part in the deaths of Charles Pitts and Jackson Hamm, back in 1963.
Mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders were a thing back in the sixties, but they’ve now been retroactively banned. Great news, huh? Ligon is now eligible for probation or parole. But he refuses to take it. Why? Does he still need punishing in his eyes? No. Sixty three years is more than enough. He believes he’s served his time and should be released without condition.
Bradley Bridge of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, told the court this on Friday: “His view is that he’s been in long enough. He doesn’t want to be on probation or parole. He just wants to be released.”
It’s quite a sad story, really. He’s a really striking visual – every mug shot of the man from 1963 to the present day: