FAMM releases report on need for second chances in Pennsylvania’s prisons

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FAMM releases report on need for second chances in Pennsylvania’s prisons

“Time for Justice: The Urgent Need for Second Chances in Pennsylvania’s Sentencing System” highlights high costs and low value of Pennsylvania’s long prison sentences


HARRISBURG – As part of FAMM’s ongoing efforts to support second chances in Pennsylvania, it has released a report entitled “Time for Justice: The Urgent Need for Second Chances in Pennsylvania’s Sentencing System,” which looks at the harms and injustices of extreme sentences in Pennsylvania, with a focus on minimum sentences of 20 years or longer. The report also provides recommendations for reform.

“Too many people in Pennsylvania are serving excessively long sentences that destroy families and cost significant amounts of tax dollars,” said Maria Goellner, FAMM’s Pennsylvania State Policy Director. “Long prison terms don’t make us safer — there’s no reason for people who pose no risk to public safety to languish in prison for decades. Pennsylvania’s laws don’t give them a second chance, and it’s time for that to change.”

The report was written by Emily Bloomenthal, Director of Research at FAMM, with support from Vice President of Policy Molly Gill and Goellner. The stories throughout the report were written by Ann Espuelas.

“Pennsylvania is a national leader in imposing extreme sentences thanks to the mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment required for first- and second-degree murder and the denial of parole eligibility to anyone serving a life sentence,” Bloomenthal said. “Our report not only details the numerous harmful effects of those sentences, but also the common-sense solutions to those failings.”

FAMM is also hosting a panel, “What’s Next for Second Chances in Pennsylvania,” which will be held Thursday, November 18 from 6-7 p.m. ET. Find more information, including a list of speakers, and register here.

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 at the state and federal level 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.