Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273
FAMM praises introduction of Pa. bill to allow more opportunity for commutations
Harrisburg – FAMM Pennsylvania State Policy Director Celeste Trusty released the following statement in response to SB 884, a proposed bill that would amend Pennsylvania’s constitution. The amendment would allow more leeway for the Board of Pardons in recommending commutation to the governor for people serving life sentences or death sentences. The bill would change the required board vote from 5 to 0 to 4 to 1:
This bill has bipartisan support for good reason: It just makes sense. Requiring a unanimous vote is a relic of the “tough-on-crime” politics of a bygone era, which doesn’t make communities safer. Many rehabilitated people are denied clemency, even if a supermajority of the board recommends it — limiting second chances for deserving people. Moving to a 4 to 1-vote recommendation is a fair compromise, and in line with other positive changes we’re seeing at the Board of Pardons. It’s time for change. We urge the Senate to pass this needed legislation.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Camera Bartolotta and Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.