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Tips for Support Letters for Commutation

LETTERS OF REENTRY SUPPORT AND LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ARE IMPORTANT!

A Reentry Tangible Support Letter shows real support coming home: housing, money, job, transportation, clothes, etc… The best time to file these letters is when your commutation application is officially filed. The concern there is that the tangible support will become outdated because the process takes so long so if you can send the letters when you get your filing date they should be good. So wait to hear from the DOC and the BOP that your application has been filed. You can always send an updated letter of support if your application is taking a long time.

A letter of Recommendation explains why a person believes you are no longer a threat to public safety and have been rehabilitated. They can express other things like looking forward to spending time with you, showing you how to navigate the free world, etc. You can file these letters any time!

Keep in mind if you are writing to organizations for support letters and they don’t know you personally it is hard for them to write you a letter. Try building a relationship first.

Where to send your letter

Supporters can now email letters to the Secretary of the Board of Pardons currently Celeste Trusty – ctrusty@pa.gov and DOC Commutation point person Johnny Johnson – Johjohnson@pa.gov They will distribute the letter to the board and place it in the applicant’s packet.

Handwritten letters can be sent to: The Board of Pardons 333 Market St, Harrisburg, PA 17126

Asking Friends and Family for Letters

Support your friends in supporting you!

Here is a sample letter people in prison can use to mobilize family and friends to write letters:

Dear Friend/Family,

I am working on my commutation application. I would like to know if you would be interested in writing a letter of support to the board of pardons on my behalf. If you are open to this the letter should be addressed to The Board of Pardons 333 Market St, Harrisburg, PA 17126 make sure to send me a copy too. You can also email it to the secretary of the Board of Pardons currently Celeste Trusty ctrusty@pa.gov and DOC Commutation point person Johnny Johnson Johjohnson@pa.gov

For example:

RE: Jane Doe #BS2345

Dear Board of Pardons,

  1. I am writing in support of Jane Doe’s commutation application. I believe her life sentence should be commuted.
  2. Briefly touch on who you are, your background, employment, degrees, etc.
  3. How you came in contact with each other.
  4. Your thoughts on maturity, rehabilitation, accomplishments.
  5. Your thoughts on remorse for the convicted offense.
  6. Your thoughts on my chances for successful reentry into society, employment and participation in society upon my release.
  7. Any willingness you would have in assisting in my reentry to society i.e. references, referrals, homeplan, job etc. when I am released.

When you are finished with the letter please send the original back to me. Please also keep a copy for yourself. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Xyour nameX


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