Teens Serving Life Without Parole, by Ed Spencer

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Boys Behind bars – Teens with JLWOP

JLWOP Stands for Juveniles sentenced to Life without parole. There are 5,100 inmates in the Pa. prison system serving sentences of Life without Parole. More than 450 of these inmates were sentenced as teenagers. JLWOP and LWOP are life sentences and these boys/men will die in prison.

Pennsylvania leads the nation with the most JLWOP’s. The US is the only country in the world that routinely sentences teens to life without Parole and Pennsylvania leads the way with the highest JLWOP population in the US. Many citizens believe that people in the Pennsylvania prison system are mostly career criminals. That is simply not true.

A huge population of JLWOP’s were teens that made major mistake or made a horrendously bad choice one time in their life. Other teens were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some fell through society’s safety net and lashed out from being abused. Teens are known for doing crazy things and making bad choices. The adrenalin, the anger, the hormones, the tempers, can take control and they sometimes act without realizing that dire consequences really do apply to them.

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Underdeveloped frontal lobes in the teenage brain (they fully develop around age 25) can cause them to miss the reality of severe consequences and even make them feel invincible. Life is coming at them so fast and it all happens so quickly.  And then it is done…no amount of grief or remorse can undo it.

How does a teen cope with a life sentence? Can he live a productive life behind bars? How do they handle revenge vs. forgiveness? Read their stories; listen to their hearts at http://prisomentoring.com/ At prison mentoring, men build bridges and relationships with teens and young men behind bars in a brutal and unfair prison system. These are men that love to encourage men in need of that caring encouragement. On the web page you will find dozens of stories written by mentors and inmates. Consider getting involved. If nothing else, consider sending a Birthday card, a Christmas card, or just a card of encouragement. Show them that someone cares and God cares. http://prisonmentoring.com

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Please visit our website, and click on “Birthday” to access a list of upcoming birthdays and instructions so that you can encourage the ‘Invisible Christians” behind bars…a little note or a greeting card helps them know that they are not alone.  You can just let them know that you are praying for their safety during this difficult time in their lives…We believe that you will be doing HIS work: “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mathew 25:40)


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