Prison Justice Field Trip – August 28th

Join Let’s Get Free and Decarcerate PA in Harrisburg to:

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​Restore Meaningful Commutation for Lifers
Currently there are over 5,000 people in PA sentenced to Life Without Parole (LWOP)- aka The Other Death Penalty. Commutation is one way that lifers can prove they are worthy of a second chance in society.
We are hoping at least 20 people from Pittsburgh will attend!
Are you in?!
Thursday August 28th
Early in the morning til later in the evening
We will be carpooling from Pittsburgh.
There will be resources for gas and tolls!
Please fill out this online form or contact etta if you wish to go or support the rally.
We will meet with the Governor’s Office!
We will have a press conference at Noon!
We will lobby/educate the judiciary committee about the broken commutation process!
We will build relationships with each other and meet others seeking prison justice from other parts of the state!

What is commutation?
A commuted sentence is a legal sentence which has been adjusted by an official to make the sentence less severe. Classically, commuted sentences come in the form of reduced imprisonment, although commutation can also involve a reduction of fees and other penalties ordered by a judge.

What is Meaningful Commutation?
Meaningful Commutation means revitalizing this legal process of sentence reduction that already exists.  At one time, as many as 12 lifers a year had their sentence commuted. At one time, a life sentence meant 7 years.  It hasn’t always been like this. Excessive sentencing with no redemption in sight.

In order to have your life sentence commuted the applicant must be approved unanimously by the 5 member board of pardons and the governor.

Only 6 people have had their life sentences commuted in the last 15 years. Most recently, Tyrone Werts  of Philadelphia was commuted in June of 2011 after 36 years in prison.
Why August 28th?

Thursday August 28  is the Merit Review Hearing. This is one part of a 17 step process for people sentenced to LWOP to be commuted. Avis Lee’s name may or may not be called at this hearing. The hearing  will go through a list of names of people seeking commutation and the 5 members of the board of pardons will vote yes or no wether they think this person should have a public hearing. So it’s not a dialogue or discussion more like imageannouncing the ways the board voted. AND 4 of the Board are on speaker phone. Avis Lee applied for commutation 3 years ago and may be approved or denied the public hearing on this day. Avis Lee was the look out for a robbery that went terribly wrong in 1980. She was 18.  She has spent over 34 years in prison and we believe she deserves a second chance. Learn more about the case for Avis Lee Here.  This is her 5th attempt at commutation.

There are 192 women serving Life Without Parole in PA.

Since 1990  –  50 women have applied for commutation.
Only 6 were granted a hearing.
Not one received commutation.

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