The Nation’s Oldest Juvenile Lifer, Joe Ligon, Left Pa. Prison After 68 Years

Ligon, re-sentenced to 35 years to life in 2017, rejected the very idea of parole after nearly seven decades in prison.

“I like to be free,” he said. “With parole, you got to see the parole people every so often. You can’t leave the city without permission from parole. That’s part of freedom for me.”

“We waste people’s lives by over-incarcerating and we waste money by over-incarcerating. Hopefully his release, and the release of the juvenile lifers in general, will cause a reevaluation of the way we incarcerate people.”

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Alabama Man Dies In Overheated Prison Cell

Tommy Lee Rutledge, 44, died of hyperthermia on December 7 when his core body temperature rose to 109 degrees after his cell at Donaldson Prison in Bessemer, Alabama, overheated to more than 100 degrees.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported on Friday that the Alabama Department of Corrections refused to answer questions about Mr. Rutledge’s death, including how temperatures in Mr. Rutledge’s cell in the prison’s mental health ward soared past 100 degrees when it was 31 degrees that night.

Mr. Rutledge was initially sentenced to life in prison without parole for a crime that happened when he was 17. Equal Justice Initiative challenged the constitutionality of such sentences for children and in 2012 won a ban on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children at the Supreme Court. EJI lawyers successfully represented Mr. Rutledge in resentencing proceedings and he was given a new sentence.

He would have been eligible for parole in three years.

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Ohio Will No Longer Sentence Kids To Life Without Parole

Ohio is expanding access to parole hearings for people who have been incarcerated ever since they were children. It will no longer sentence minors to life without the possibility of parole, and it will significantly curtail sentences that effectively amount to the same.

Youth justice advocates are celebrating Senate Bill 256, which was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine on Saturday, as their latest win in nationwide efforts to keep kids from spending their life in prison.

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