On June 4th, PA Senator Art Hayward tweeted, “Visited SCI Graterford yesterday and wonder…why do we we keep a guy age 65 served 30 years and is rehabilitated in prison?”
Reforming the Commutation Process is a way to offer people serving excessive sentences including Life Without Parole a second chance!
Two weeks ago, Lt. Governor Mike Stack stated in a public discussion in Homewood “This is supposed to be the land of second chances.” And while this may seem very basic for those who believe in alternative justice systems and struggle against mass incarceration, it feels radical coming from the chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons – specifically referring to people who have committed violent offenses. Listen to his speech, along with the words of local progressive Pittsburgh- based politicians Ed Gainey and Jay Costa.
Feeling hopeful and like the time is now!
3 Ways to Support Our Lobby Day!
- Come with us in Thursday June 23 for an all day adventure of rallying, networking with prison justice activists across the state and meeting with lawmakers – including Lt. Governors office, members of the black caucus and others who challenge mass incarceration.
- Chip in for our travel expenses! We need $100 more dollars to reach our goal.You know we will put good use to any extra funds.
- Endorse our Campaign! We must show our lawmakers that we have wide spread support for these ideas. Will your group either local or national officially sign on as an endorser? Endorsing simply means that you or your organization believe commutation is a viable option for people who are no longer a threat to public safety & support the ideas listed in the 12 point platform and will sign your name to it.
Background on Commutation:
In the 1970s approximately 35 people a year were given a second chance through commutation. That’s 380 commuted lifers from 1967-1990, but for the last 25 years, only 7 men and no women or trans people serving life have been released. The dramatic decrease in the use of commutation as a result of the “tough on crime” political climate has contributed to mass incarceration and has left many innocent and reformed people serving excessive sentences with no mercy.
We believe mercy is a component of a true justice system, even in situations where irreparable harm has occurred, including murder. We advocate that a mandatory punitive response such as Life Without Parole does not prevent further violence in our communities nor create a process for healing.
Think of Avis Lee. 55 years old. Been in prison since she was 18 – over 30 years -for being the lookout in a robbery gone wrong. Think of Charmaine Pfender, also in her 50’s. Also been down since she was a teenager. Also served over 30 years, in her case for defending herself from sexual violence.
The Risk is Low! The Cost is High! Free our Friends!