Ex-Con Does Jail Time for a Cause

Anti-crime activist stages prison cell "sit-in" and fast to impact youth

By Catherine Brown
|  Friday, Feb 11, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 AM EDT
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Ex-Con Does Jail Time for a Cause

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LONDON - JANUARY 10: An Amnesty International supporter dressed in an orange boiler suit holds a night long vigil in a cage outside of the US embassy on January 10, 2008 in London, England. Amnesty International marks the six-year anniversary of the first prisoners being transported to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The human rights organisation installs its 'Guantanamo Cell' built to the exact dimensions of a cell at Guantanamo. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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Philadelphia activist Michael Ta'Bon has locked himself in a homemade jail cell for a month-long campaign.

Ta'Bon, 36, spent nearly 10 years behind bars for armed robbery and now he's on mission to keep young people out of prison. He's staging a 28-day "Prison and Death Fast" at the "R.I.P. Wall" at 1924 W. Hunting Park Ave. in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood.

The Founder of the "Rest in Peace" Memorial Wall that honors local murder victims says he's trying to dissuade young people from committing crimes that will land them in prison or get them killed.

“Instead of the young bucks going to jail to find out for themselves, I'm bringing the jail to the young bucks,” Ta'Bon said.

Ta'Bon and his friend Lional Dunbar created the mural wall in 2007 by to make sure the people who were taken by violence are never forgotten.

Ta'Bon believes he's made a successful transition from convict to a productive citizen. He wants to share his experiences in the criminal justice system which he says institutionalizes too many of Philadelphia's youth.

Ta'Bon plans to be locked in a jail cell, in public view, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the month of February to demonstrate the horrors of being locked up. His effort was mounted with a call for donations of money and items like heaters and a trailer, along with volunteers to staff the event.

The event is also meant to honor the fallen victims of senseless crimes in the Philadelphia area.


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