To the Teens of America – Article by Antonio Little DP7456
I pray my words can reach all in the Lord that I truly desire them to reach. For the urgent message I wish to state is this: I was once you! My name is Brandon Antonio Little. I am 33 years old. I am African American. I am serving a 30 to 60 year sentence in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections system. I was sentenced in 1997. I was charged and convicted of third degree murder and robbery.
I never saw this moment coming in my life, even though I know that I was living wrong. I had become conditioned to the chaos. A normal world no longer existed for me. At age 14 and 15, when I should have been in school, I was selling Crack, living as an adult, cars, money, jewelry, women, clothes, and all of the things popularized by Urban Gangster movies and Novels. As a young teenager, violence became a way of life. I saw so much of it that it became as ordinary as High School Football in small towns across America. Everyone attends the games because it’s part of the town. Violence is part of my culture. It is celebrated by rap artists, many of whom have never experienced such things. It is accepted as a mark of manhood.
I can still see the world through the younger version of myself. Through those eyes, I can identify more than you can imagine, with many of you trying to figure things out, waiting for the moment that you can become independent from the rules enforced by your parents or guardians. At age 16, I saw the world as a place where my mother meant to limit my life, not guide it. At that time my mother’s wisdom was no equal to my knowledge and I was proud of it. She raised me in the Church, and she was always telling me to pray, and ask the Lord to guide me. She wanted me to trust God, but the world was calling me with promises of answers that God didn’t seem want to give me. That’s how I saw it at the time.
I rode so high that the crash destroyed me mentally. I no longer had a grip on reality. A definition that properly describes me was “cognitive dissonance”. It is believing that the slaughter of animals is morally wrong, but still eating meat from animals. I lost the world I had cheated in rebellion, and the real world was unbearable. It made no sense to not have what I wanted. Things that I earned, so quickly, had no real value.
More than anything, what I couldn’t understand was that the devil had me in a place where if Christ wasn’t sought out, I would remain in mortal danger until the Lord came to save me from myself. The problem with growing up too fast is, you miss experiences crucial to teaching you when mistakes are made. We are meant to reflect on why it happened, and store it into memory to use later. One mistake can have a range of uses that help to see into other problems to prevent future mistakes.
What further hinders a Juvenile, is where the frontal lobe of our brains is concerned. This is an area where long term decisions are made and consequences for our actions are understood. This part of our brain is underdeveloped as a juvenile, and not fully developed until the age of 21 or older. Science has proven this as to why juveniles do not see the long term results of these actions resulting from their choices. I knew that my choices were wrong but I never saw being stuck in prison for 30 plus years.
I live with knowing that I took a life. I now understand the lasting effects that violence leaves. I am responsible for a mother who gave birth to a son that she loves but she can’t see or touch him because he is gone forever and she has to live with this emptiness that I left. It crushes me!
The Lord is merciful, and by seeking salvation through Christ, my sins are forgiven. Even if man can’t forgive me, my God did. I strive now to do a work that is greater than I can imagine. I strive to please God, bring others, especially the youth of America from darkness into light. I want to share the realization of the potential we have in Christ. It is not just something natural in this life, but a supernatural gift. You will never see life so plainly after the Spirit is alive in you. Your life will never be bland or boring but purposeful.
Don’t rush to grow up in a world that is so eager to rob you of your youth. Satan will fight to tell you and make you believe that you are missing a lot, but the same problems will be around when you are older. Then, you will be wiser and ready to deal with everything properly, especially if Christ is in your heart. Slow down! Rushing to get old only steals your youth. Once it’s gone you will want it back.
Brandon Antonio Little DP7456 SCI Benner Township 301 Institution Dr. Bellefonte, Pa 16823
About Antonio: (The Content Below Contributed by Ed Spencer)
Antonio was one of David’s (David Ludwig – see Prisonmentoring.com) good friends during his years at SCI Pine Grove. This where I (Ed Spencer) first met Antonio. Pine Grove is Pennsylvania’s State Youth Prison for Teens committing violent crimes from age 13 to 22. He is better known as “Little”.
Antonio has spent more than half of his life behind bars beginning at age 16. It has been rough through the years for Antonio as he has a loyal and caring heart for his friends. More than once he has come to the aid of his friends ending up in RHU (“the hole”).
He has been transferred around the Pennsylvania D.O.C. system over the past few years. A few years ago, he was transferred to Michigan’s Correctional facility in Muskegon, Michigan during Pennsylvania’s D.O.C. budget cuts. They chose to send those inmates with fewest visitors for one year. From there Antonio came back to SCI Pine Grove.
Antonio ended up in RHU again and all of his possessions and his books and Bible were intentionally destroyed and disposed of in front of him. That is illegal, of course, but denied. He was then sent to SCI Cresson after a few weeks. When SCI Cresson was closed, Antonio was transferred to the new SCI Benner Township in Bellefonte, Pa. When Antonio is given the opportunity, in a prison with a solid Chapel program, he flourishes Spiritually. At SCI Cresson, he was very involved in Spiritual activities with an awesome Chaplain. As he was transferred to a Brand new prison, SCI Benner Township, there was no Chapel program at first. Now they have a very active Chaplain and program that Antonio is involved with. His faith is very strong when he has the fellowship and the encouragement.
He often gets discouraged when he is treated unfairly, and he has certainly experienced more than his share of that. His family is from South Carolina and they are very poor and disadvantaged. He has little contact with them or visits because they cannot afford the cost of transportation to the prison. Antonio was recently sent to RHU (“the hole”) again for defending a fellow Christian during the Chapel service from being” shanked”.
Your prayer and encouragement cards are welcome for Antonio. Antonio wanted me to share his message to youth. So, I translated his hand written message and I share it with those who care to read it. Feel free to share it with others. We recently visited Antonio at SCI Benner and we are looking forward to seeing him again this Fall.
We continue to pray for and encourage Antonio. You can respond to Antonio directly by mail or you can email him via “Jpay.com” using: Brandon Antonio Little, PA DOC Number DP7456. Jpay.com does have a very small cost involved to write emails to inmates, (less than one dollar) but they receive these email messages within 24 hours of sending.
Regular Mail Address:
Brandon Antonio Little DP7456
SCI Benner Township
301 Institution Dr.
Bellefonte, Pa 16823