Category Archives: Harsh Sentences

Juvenile LWOP in Israel

Juvenile LWOP in Israel, isn’t really LWOP — exactly. See this post from the University of San Francisco:

“The Center For Law and Global Justice has issued a report on the sentencing of child offenders – those convicted of crimes committed when younger than 18 years of age -to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole (“LWOP”). The sentence condemns a child to die in prison. It is the harshest sentence an individual can receive short of death and violates international human rights standards of juvenile justice.


FEBRUARY 2008–The Center has now confirmed with Israeli officials that children given life sentences, including those in the Occupied Territories which have been the subject of serious concern by the Center and other human rights groups, are entitled to parole review. There remains the concern that parole review is difficult to pursue and rarely granted. The new confirmation by Israel means that the United States, with 2,381 such cases, is now the only country in the world known to either issue the sentence or to have children serving life without parole.


Michelle Leighton
Director, Human Rights Programs
Center for Law and Global Justice
University of San Francisco School of Law

Professor Connie de la Vega
Director, Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic
University of San Francisco School of Law

This report may be accessed in .pdf format here.”


The Dog Program in Canon City

Like many people, I was intrigued by the photos of Cheryl Armstrong with the dogs in prison. I have never visited a prison in Colorado, and I didn’t know anything about the dog training program that was established a number of years ago. I asked Cheryl about it and this is what she wrote to me:

“For almost two years of my incarceration I was on the dog program. The program actually got its start with 5 dogs at my facility over 6 years ago. It quickly expanded to 15 people here and is now in numerous facilities in Colorado. The [inmates’] beds are raised up so a kennel can fit under them. There are two types of dogs that come through the program — rescued dogs who are homeless and adopted out (after being trained), and dogs whose families have paid for them to be trained. Each inmate has one dog in her cell and her job is to train it. A dog is here 4-6 weeks, usually. Continue reading

The Life Cheryl Dreams Of

I asked Cheryl Armstrong (her story is here) what kind of life she imagined for herself, if she were to be released from prison. This is what she said:

The kind of life outside I picture myself living & things I’ve grown to know…

When I get out of prison, I picture myself living a simple but productive life. I want to end up building a career for myself that corresponds with my life experience and educational background. I would like to help teach others by Continue reading

Cheryl Armstrong’s Inspirations

Cheryl Armstrong is currently serving a 96 year sentence in the Colorado Womens Prison. Her story is here. I asked Cheryl Armstrong,  if she was inspired by anyone. This is what she told me:

I always say that very few people have truly inspired me in my life, but as I evolve spiritually, I’m finding that even the people I don’t care much for who don’t care much for me can be inspiring. This is because I’ve changed how I Continue reading

Finding Gratitude Within Prison Walls

cheryl-with-college-staff-graduation-nov-13-07.jpgcheryl-with-college-staff-graduation-nov-13-07.jpgCheryl Armstrong is serving a 96-year sentence in Canon City, Colorado for two counts of second degree murder. She did not kill anyone, but drove the getaway car and was accused of being the “mastermind” in a double homicide in 1995 when she was 16 years old. Cheryl is now 29.

I’ve written to Cheryl and she agreed to allow me to post her responses to questions I’ve asked about her life in prison. The following was what she told me when I asked if she found things to be grateful for.

The first thing I did when I opened my eyes this morning was simply to tell God “Thank You.” I have begun to make this a normal practice throughout my days also. It really is amazing how much it was so easy to see the negative in Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Part 8 of 8

This is the last of 8 posts. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here. Part 7 is here.

You must have run the scenario through your head a million times of what you’ll do if you’re released. What are some of the things you envision?



I think of my freedom All the Time. I daydream about what I want to do daily. When I was younger, my daydreams reflected my youth – I wanted to ride the rails and see the country or go into careers which take years to be established, in like physics or teaching at a university. Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Part 7 of 8

This is the 7th of 8 posts. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here.

What do you look most forward to each day?


I don’t really look forward to anything in here on a day to day basis. I guess you can say that I look forward to “It Takes a Thief” at 3 PM every day because that marks the point in my day when it very quickly turns into bed time. Each day in CSP is a day I’m just trying to kill. That’s what I hate about mornings so much here. It marks the slowest part of the day when I’m climbing the cliffs to reach the 3 PM peak and can coast my way back down. Continue reading