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FAMM supports Pennsylvania Medical and Elderly Parole bill as it advances in the House
HARRISBURG – FAMM Pennsylvania State Policy Director Celeste Trusty released the following statement after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted today to advance a Medical and Elderly Parole bill.
“It’s unsustainable for Pennsylvania to continue limiting release mechanisms as the number of sick and elderly incarcerated people continues to swell,” Trusty said. “The House Judiciary Committee voting to advance this bill is a sign of real momentum behind this critical common-sense reform, and we are thrilled to see it move forward for consideration by the full House.”
FAMM strongly supports the legislation, as it seeks to expand pathways toward relief for Pennsylvania’s rapidly aging and ill prison population, which is part of the organization’s Second Chances agenda.
More than 27 percent of Pennsylvania’s prison population is over the age of 50, and many of these people have chronic health conditions requiring medications that cost the Department of Corrections and taxpayers $34 million every year. Maintaining such an enormous population of aging and ill people in our prisons is expensive, unnecessary, and unjust.
Pennsylvania’s only existing pathway for the release of incarcerated people based on medical necessity is extremely narrow, procedurally cumbersome, and ineffective, which is why FAMM gave them a failing grade on their state report card last year. The House bill would drastically improve Pennsylvania’s medical and elderly release process by enabling individuals to seek parole due to medical necessity; or if they are at least 55 years old and have served either 25 years or at least half of their sentence.
For more than 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 has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.