Support a 2nd Chance for Life Without Parole Prisoners!

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My older brother, Leif Berkson was convicted of murder 25 years ago, when he was not yet 25 years old.  He received a "Life Without Parole" sentence.  In prison, he has educated himself, earning several degrees.  He  mentors at risk youth as part of the Youth Diversion Program.  He is a vegetarian, studies yoga and meditation, is a trained facilitator for the "Alternatives to Violence Program", and is a certified Drug and Alcohol specialist (Level I and II).

My brother Leif, and many others who were incarcerated at a young age, are hoping that Gov. Jerry Brown will make it possible for he, and others like him, to have their sentences commuted from LWOP to 25 years to Life.  If Gov. Brown were to grant this request, my brother would be eligible to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings--something that is not possible with an LWOP sentence.

As stated by Leif in his letter to Gov. Brown:

"It is difficult to express in words the great remorse and shame I feel for what I did.  I cannot undo the events of that terrible day, I can only stay true to the vow I made to never create another victim, and to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.  I'm involved in a number of groups which has not only helped me to re-humanize myself, but helps bring healing to others -and hopefully makes the communities we live in safer in the long run.

...I do not believe I 'deserve' or have somehow 'earned' a commutation of my sentence.  How could I possibly use such terms when I am guilty of murdering a human being?  Some things like redemption and a second chance can only be gifts freely given.  I pray that God's mercy will allow you to see that I am not the same broken, and lost young man I was 25 years ago.  I hope that you will sign this petition.  Thank you for your time, and God Bless."


Please sign this petition, and email/write or call Gov. Jerry Brown if you feel that LWOP prisoners, who have shown they are ready to become contributing and positive members of society, deserve a chance to appear before the Board of Parole.

With sincere thanks,

Erika Haynes

Governor Edmund G. Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160