Support Senate Bill 942: Parole Eligibility for Life Sentences

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A life sentence in Pennsylvania means life, without the possibility of parole (LWOP). This means all individuals sentenced to life imprisonment may not be considered for parole, no matter how much they have reformed themselves or unlikely they are to re-offend. This includes those who have become ill or so elderly they pose little to no risk to the public. Incarcerating individuals longer than necessary creates an exponentially rising cost for the corrections system – and the taxpayers who fund it. Last year, the budget for the PA Department of Corrections exceeded $2.1 billion.

Introduced by Senator Street, SB 942 is a companion bill to HB 135 introduced by State Representative Jason Dawkins. It permits an individual sentenced to life imprisonment under the laws of this Commonwealth to be considered for parole after spending at least 15 years in prison. It also extends parole eligibility retroactively to those sentenced prior to the effective date of the legislation. The bill creates no right to parole, so it will not allow our most dangerous inmates to go free. The Commonwealth’s Board of Probation and Parole will continue to responsibly reject requests for parole from those who do not deserve it, or who present too great a safety risk to the public.

This is the first time there has been legislation in both the House and Senate to end LWOP in Pennsylvania! Help us let our senators know the importance of this issue and make the changes to create a humane, just, and restorative correctional system! 


Photo credit: Harvey Finkle