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PLEASE SUPPORT SENATE BILL SB942 Introduced by Senator Sharif Street and House Bill HB135- Introduced by Pennsylvania House of Representative, Jason Dawkins. Below, Senator Sharif Street and State Rep. Dawkins explain what passing SB942 and HB135 would do for the rehabilitated inmate serving life, as well as our community as taxpayers.....

Senator Sharif Street, D- Phila., on October 31, 2017, introduced legislation ( SB942) that proposes any person serving a life sentence under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, may be eligible for parole review after serving 15 years of imprisonment. State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., introduced legislation on April 7, 2017, (HB135), that would abolish sentences of life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to those already sentenced to life imprisonment. Specifically, Dawkins’s bill would permit a person sentenced to life imprisonment to be released on parole after spending at least 15 years in prison. It also would extend parole eligibility retroactively to those sentenced before the legislation's effective date. Dawkins said that all life sentences in Pennsylvania are imposed without the possibility of parole, which means that people sentenced to life imprisonment may not be considered for parole, no matter how much they have reformed themselves and no matter how unlikely they are to re-offend. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever re-offend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for sentences that are longer than necessary. "Dawkins added that his bill would not grant a right to parole and the Board of Probation and Parole would continue to thoroughly examine parole requests. "The Board of Probation and Parole will continue to carefully consider requests for parole. This bill simply allows our correctional system to be smart on crime and promote rehabilitation."