Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM SUPPORTS NEW PENNSYLVANIA LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE REFORM BILLS
WASHINGTON – Today, FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill issued the following statement in response to the introduction of two life without parole sentencing reform bills by Sen. Sharif Street (D-3) and Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-179) in the Pennsylvania General Assembly:
Pennsylvania has the country’s second-largest number of people serving life without parole, and we are grateful that Sen. Street and Rep. Dawkins are focusing on this problem. Public safety should always be paramount, but many people serving life without parole are aging or ill and pose little risk to public safety. Some have become so rehabilitated that they are nothing like the person who broke the law decades ago. Some people serving life without parole never actually took a life. This new bill would give people a chance to show that they are worthy of parole. That chance is not a guarantee of release. We know Pennsylvanians believe in second chances, so we encourage the legislature to act on this important issue this year.
If passed, both bills would create parole eligibility for those sentenced to life without parole for first and second-degree murder after the person has served 35 and 25 years, respectively.
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.
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