Support PA House Bill 135: Parole Eligibility for Life Sentences
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Currently, there is no meaningful review process or release mechanism for a lifer in Pennyslvania. This has led to exponentially rising costs ($2.1 BILLION last year) for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The Lifers Inc. Parole Eligibility Educational Initiative focuses on the long-term financial implications to the taxpayer for a life sentence without the possibility of parole (LWOP). A conservative estimate of the cost to house ONE lifer in the PDOC over the course of his/her term of imprisonment is $3.6 million, while Pennsylvania continues to face revenue shortfalls in the FY 2017-18 General Appropriations Budget.
Introduced by State Representative Jason Dawkins, House Bill 135 would "abolish LWOP in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to those sentenced to life imprisonment". The House Bill seeks to amend 61 Pa. C.S § 6137 to eliminate the prohibition against parole review for "an inmate... serving life imprisonment." House Bill No.135 would further prescribe, "the power to parole...may not be exercised in the Board's discretion at any time before, but only after fifteen years in the case of an inmate sentenced to life imprisonment". If the evidence of post-sentencing rehabilitation does not support a decision to release the inmate, the Board would reject the request.
Currently, the bill has 16 co-sponsors: Dawkins, Gainey, Kinsey, Youngblood, Bloom, V. Brown, Bullock, Frankel, McClinton, Thomas, Ravenstahl, Kim, Rozzi, Daley, Rabb, Dean, Donatucci, and Vazquez.
The bill is pending in the Legislature House Judiciary Committee.
If the bill does not get a majority vote from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (103 votes), it will die in committee. It has taken more than 40 years to get bill like his introduced. We need everyone who to contact their State Representative and Senators and urge them to support and endorse House Bill No. 135 ["Parole Eligibility Expansion for Life Sentences"]
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