Petition to Todd Spitzer (Orange County Supervisor 3rd District), California Governor, Tony Rackauckas, Loretta Sanchez, Loretta Lynch, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, DIane Feinstein, Alex Padilla
Exonerate Kenneth Clair: DNA Evidence Points to Someone Else.
On November 15, 1984, 5-year-old Jerrod Hessling witnessed the beating, rape, and stabbing death of his babysitter. When asked to describe the killer, he said, without hesitation, that it was a white male. Another child present during the murder saw a white man’s tattooed arm reach inside the house to open a sliding glass door. Yet somehow, the lawyers in the case determined that Kenneth Clair, a dark-skinned African-American homeless man who had been squatting next door, was the killer. When Jerrod saw him on the witness stand and insisted they had the wrong man, the prosecution chalked it up to youth and trauma and pursued the death penalty for Kenneth Clair. To this day, 31 years later, Mr. Clair sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his execution date. [UPDATE: I was recently made aware that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals secretly overturned Mr. Clair’s death sentence and changed it to life in prison without parole. This is mixed news -- his life is spared, but he no longer has the right to an attorney under habeas corpus laws, and he has not been granted a retrial. That means the exonerating DNA evidence will NOT be seen in court. We now have to focus our energy on asking Governor Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the case and exonerate Kenneth Clair for this crime he did not commit. It is Mr. Clair’s only remaining chance for justice. ] But that’s not the biggest bombshell in this case -- in 2008, forensic testing revealed that DNA found on the murder victim did not match Clair’s. DNA taken from a glove found at the scene also did not match. It matches another individual, but the Orange County District Attorney insists that “confidentiality is required” concerning this evidence, and for 7 years now, the identity of the person whose DNA does match the swab has remained a secret. In the interest of justice, we must call on the Orange County DA and California state lawmakers to demand that the DNA evidence be turned over to Kenneth Clair’s defense. Since his conviction, Clair has struggled with ineffective counsel. He wanted his lawyers to work at investigating the crime, rather than simply trying to free him from death row, but they never did. His plea for substitute counsel even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and he did eventually receive a switch of counsel. Finally, he is being represented by people who are dedicated to his exoneration. But their hands are tied without this crucial DNA evidence, and more of Clair’s precious life is wasting away in prison as they fight to obtain it. Please sign my petition: Obviously the Orange County District Attorneys office, with their current district attorney Tony Rackauckas will continue withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. The only alternative is to both Mr. Rackauckas out of office. So our goal now is to fight this battle both by rallies and at the voting box. If you cannot vote, we still need your donations and also your time if you can volunteer. OUR MAIN MESSAGE IS THAT THE DNA IS NOT KENNETH CLAIR'S. WE DO NOT CARE IF THE DA'S OFFICE CONTINUES TO WITHHOLD THE RESULTS ANY MORE........ NOW OUR MISSION IS TO EXONERATE KENNETH CLAIR. "IF THE DNA SAYS NO .........YOU HAVE TO EXONERATE AND LET KENNETH CLAIR GO......."
Petition to Stephen Sinclair, Robert Herzog, Roy Gonzalez, Jay Inslee
Stop Washington from banning free books for prisoners
UPDATE - 4-10-19The Seattle Times has just reviewed the list of the supposed incidents of contraband found in mailed books in 2018. This list of alleged contraband was the basis for this ban as well as a later press release. After review, the Seattle Times determined that none of the alleged incidents involved mailed books of any kind, much less Books to Prisoners. This ban, therefore, is completely baseless and MUST be repealed immediately. Read more.UPDATE #2 - 4-10-19 (4 pm) The Washington Department of Corrections has published a memo to update its Used Publications Policy.After review, we find that it is insufficient and leaves plenty of need for negotiation with the DOC during our scheduled Friday meeting. Our goal is not just to restore access for Books to Prisoners Seattle but for all concerned community groups which share the mission of providing quality, free used books to prisoners in Washington. On page 2, for example, the DOC has explicitly written that the practice of allowing for each facility superintendent to approve or deny nonprofit vendors will continue—this is an example of a policy which has caused plenty of frustration over the past years, as the DOC heads have used it as a basis to encroach ever further on the abilities of prison book programs to send books. We are very happy that first steps are being taken, but there's still a lot of work to ensure that prisoners retain necessary access to books! STOP WASHINGTON FROM BANNING FREE BOOKS FOR PRISONERS The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) has just prohibited all nonprofit organizations from mailing free, used books to every prisoner in this state.Across the country, dozens of volunteer nonprofits respond directly to prisoners' book requests; together, these groups send about 200,000 free books every year to people behind bars, from westerns and science fiction novels to books about starting businesses after release. Access to information in prisons is a lifeline for literacy and skill-building; the humble dictionary, a book which most of us no longer possess as a physical book, is the number one request by prisoners because good sources of information are so scarce.For the many prisoners and their families who can't afford to buy new books, free, used books are a lifeline; for prisoners in solitary confinement (around 80,000 at any given time), these book donations may be the only reading material they have. We love prison libraries and their hard-working staff, but they are chronically underfunded, understaffed, and not accessible for all prisoners or open when needed. In Pennsylvania, for example, prisoners are allowed a maximum of 90 minutes per week at the prison library. Additionally, books checked out from prison libraries must be returned and may not be available at any given time due to circulation; by contrast, books mailed from prison book programs belong to prisoners forever as personal property. Four facilities in Washington don't even have on-site libraries, an indication of the ongoing need for services like prison book programs to fill the gaps.This ban will deny incarcerated people in Washington access to literally thousands of books.Groups like the Prison Book Program in Massachusetts, Books to Prisoners in Washington, and LGBT Books to Prisoners in Wisconsin have successfully sent books without incident to Washington prisoners since 1973. Sadly, this isn't the first time that a DOC has attempted to ban our programs. In 2018 alone, both Pennsylvania and New York attempted similar bans. Most attempted bans cite security reasons -- though few (if any) can cite a single instance where a prison book program ever sent contraband material. Together, we stopped these attempted bans in Pennsylvania and New York in 2018; let's stop it now in Washington.Please join other prison book program supporters to contact the Washington DOC and Governor Jay Inslee's office and demand that this new policy -- a memo amended to policy 450.100 -- be rescinded at once. #PrisonersNeedBooks(The memo in question, "03-12-19 Memo for employees", can be found here, below the entry for 450.100: https://doc.wa.gov/information/policies/default.aspx?show=400) (The second memo, dated 04-10-19, can be read here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5816599-Updated-Used-Publication-Memo-4-10-19.html) Media coverage: https://www.king5.com/video/news/local/washington-prisons-ban-used-books/281-ad2cb9a4-6a19-4c56-b294-f7bd23982053 https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/04/01/39782896/washington-prisoners-may-no-longer-be-able-to-receive-donated-books https://bookriot.com/2019/04/03/book-ban-in-washington-prisons/ https://www.kuow.org/stories/doc-sano-more-donated-books-for-inmates https://seattlereviewofbooks.com/notes/2019/04/03/how-you-can-help-fight-for-the-right-to-read-in-washington-state-prisons/ https://mynorthwest.com/1331272/washington-doc-used-books-prisoners/ https://q13fox.com/2019/04/01/state-dept-of-corrections-bans-used-books-in-washington-prisons/ https://www.kxly.com/news/wa-dept-of-corrections-to-no-longer-allow-nonprofit-book-donations/1065587956 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/prison-officials-quiet-ban-on-used-books-sent-by-mail-draws-concern-in-olympia/ https://pen.org/press-release/washington-state-bans-book-donations-prisons-misguided/ https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/04/05/book-banning-proves-still-wildly-unpopular-as-prison-program-takes-to-twitter/ https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/5/1848075/-Washington-state-corrections-quietly-tries-to-ban-non-profits-from-sending-prisoners-books https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-corrections-secretary-vows-to-make-sure-prisoners-can-still-get-used-books/ https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/anger-over-doc-decision-to-ban-used-books-from-seattle-nonprofit/937943638 http://mynorthwest.com/1338566/washington-prisons-books/ https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/editorial-restore-prisoners-access-to-books-pell-grants/ https://www.theroot.com/washington-state-bans-free-books-to-prisoners-for-no-lo-1833915004 http://www.ifiberone.com/news/shaky-ground-for-doc-policy-denying-books-to-prisoners/article_a70b58d4-5b11-11e9-96b3-fba7efc3c5da.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/corrections-officials-claims-of-contraband-in-used-books-mailed-to-washington-inmates-doesnt-add-up/ https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-corrections-officials-reverse-ban-will-allow-prisoners-to-get-used-books-in-the-mail/ https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/washington-prisons-reverse-ban-on-used-book-donations/281-2eb1beb5-c028-476d-9092-db6b500704e4 https://bookriot.com/2019/04/10/washington-department-of-corrections-meets-with-book-donors-updating-policy/ https://www.yakimaherald.com/opinion/editorial-a-welcome-happy-ending-to-the-books-to-prisoners/article_7f08a452-5ba9-11e9-ae73-4f30dc5885dd.html https://www.inlander.com/spokane/washingtons-prisons-quietly-banned-nonprofits-from-giving-used-books-to-inmates-prompting-criticism-and-a-partial-walkback/Content?oid=17318211 Books to Prisoners social media: https://twitter.com/B2PSeattle https://www.facebook.com/seattlebtp/ I started this petition because...I have been a volunteer with Books to Prisoners in Seattle since 2012. I have seen firsthand the power of books behind bars as tools for learning, self-empowerment, and as a reminder that prisoners have not been forgotten. Learn more about Books to Prisoners Seattle at www.bookstoprisoners.net
Petition to A. Donald McEachin, Ralph Northam, Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate, Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring, Mark Herring, M. Kirkland "Kirk" Cox, Thomas Norment, Jr., C. Todd Gilbert, Dick Saslaw, David J. Toscano
Petition to Restore Parole in Virginia
Since 1995, a year after the Virginia Assembly passed legislation to abolish parole, Virginia has built thirteen new prisons and many new jails even as the crime rate has declined. The money spent building new prisons to house those serving long sentences could be better used in three ways: to fund rehabilitative programs for inmates in the prisons, to fund re-entry programs for those leaving prison, and to fund education in Virginia to prevent children from going to prison. The fact that the state of Virginia only spends approximately $10,597 a year per student in public schools, and $25,129 per year per inmate in prison, demonstrates that state officials entrusted with the duty and responsibility of fulfilling their accountability to the public have neglected the serious needs of the commonwealth.
Petition to John E. Wetzel, Tom Wolf, Barack Obama, Jay Lane, André Carson
Stop Corruption and Mistreatment of Prisoners at Pennsylvania State Correctional - Fayette
My father has been incarcerated for 43 years for murder, but yet he was acquitted on the murder weapon. His institution name is James Sullivan #AF6771 and he is incarcerated at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution Fayette. There are no records for Judgement of Sentencing Order. My dad has been locked since I was three years old, this was in 1973. I have not seen my father in over 43 years. I had no knowledge of where he was or why he was locked up for years. It wasn't until I was 27 years old that my father was able to find and reach out to me. When I was younger I would always receive letters from my dad and was very excited when they came. He always drew pictures on the letters that always put a smile on my face. Then suddenly one day the letters just stop coming. I spent all those years feeling like my father had forgotten about me and didn't love me anymore. It wasn't until we started communicating that I found out my stepfather had wrote my dad and told him to never contact me again. I couldn't believe it! All those years I thought I wasn't loved and it was just a lie. He did love me and he tried his best to find out where I was. It's sad but what is sadder is the fact that my dad is incarcerated for no reason. There are no records of his incarceration, so I question why is he still incarcerated? Tanja Hayles who is the Records Supervisor, declare under the penalty of perjury, pursuant to 18 Pa. C.S. & 4904 that the following statements are true and correct based upon her personal knowledge, information, and belief: " I am employed by the Department of Corrections as Records Supervisor at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale. If the specific records requested above were in the possession of this Institution, they would be retained as official records in files within my custody. After a reasonable search, I have determined that the records requested are not in my custody, possession, or control." This document was dated on 10/22/13 and signed by Tanja Hayles. Since then my father has been transferred to State Correction Institution Fayette still in Pennsylvania. My father has been able to retain a lot of his court documents and I have possession of them. His whole case in a misuse of our Justice system and many civil rights violations. My father has developed many programs within the Institution and was placed in the Honor Unit. He has no history of bad behavior and has been commended many times for his work within the prison. He is also and artist who has sold many of his paintings to guards and others in the prison also. I just want to see justice served in this matter and for my father to be able to be a free man. I haven't had my father in my life for 43 years and it is time for him to come home. So much of his life has been wasted behind bars where many innocent men have been. He has lost so much money from attorneys who have gotten paid and ran off with the money. My father's case has so many twist and turns and everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to it. How can you have someone incarcerated, taken away from the families, their children, taken away their opportunities without any reason. I have seen so many crimes done by people that have received less years sentenced than my father and they were guilty. The individuals involved in his case are fraudulent and need to be exposed for their misconduct and misuse of the law. My father has been threatened by guards who are continuously trying to set him up. He is about to be 70 years old and he isn't a threat to himself or society. I desperately need everyone's help bringing his story to the media and any other outlets that can be used to seek him some real justice. He has been told that his case is a "Threat To The State". Anything that threatens the interest of the state (i.e. Judicial economy) must be avoided by attorneys at ALL COST! An illegal sentence is a threat to the state and lawyers are not coming to the rescue. This from the Attorney and Client, C.J.S. (1980) "Duty of attorney is to the court if litigant client's interest threatens the state" 7 C.J.S. 34 This is what my father has to endure, not being able to find an attorney that will even look at his case. Like I said earlier much money has been spent on attorneys over the years who have taken the money and ran. Please help by signing this petition so that I can spend the rest of my father's days on earth with him. We have so much time that has been lost and it can never be replaced, I just love my father and want him to receive his rightful justice. The prison facility at Fayette is absolutely deplorable. The treatment of their prisoners is even worse. My father has spoken to me about the sickness and disease that is running rampant throughout the prison, not to mention they receive no proper medical care. My father is about to be seventy years old and when they returned him to the Honor Block (after being moved to one of the worst blocks in the prison for no reason at all) he now has a top bunk with no guard rails and he has fallen twice. This is unacceptable on all levels. The guards themselves are involved in a lot of shady business throughout the prison and my father has witnessed it first hand. I tried calling when my father was first moved from the Honor block and the guard who answered was very unprofessional. I was told I will never be able to talk to the Superintendent and prisoners get moved all the time its no big deal. Well it is to me when my father is a senior and resides in the Honor block but is suddenly moved conveniently when the Sup. Jay Lane is off the prison grounds. He had no idea this had taken place and ordered that my father be returned to Honor block once Sup. Jay Lane found out. I must get my father released, his life is at stake at this point. I refuse to lose him to this abuse and torture. My dad doesn't even eat the food, so if we don't send him care packages he doesn't eat. The food is basically poison my dad says it is absolutely horrible and prisoners have gotten sick. Prisoners without families coming up dead mysteriously, just too much going on and this place needs to be investigated. But my first priority first is my dad's freedom and that is what I'm fighting for.
Petition to United States Supreme Court
Free My Father
As a young child my father was taken away from me. He was charged in 1995 at the age of 22 years old. He had been in prison since before I was 1 year old. I'm now 25 y/o, married, and plan to have kids of my very own but, I've only known my father behind bars. He's been given this one last chance for a parole hearing and if I can get up to 500 signatures, there's a chance I can have a second chance with my father. It's heart breaking to say my father couldn't be there for my wedding but, I don't want him to miss anymore. Please help me in freeing my father.
Petition to Charlie Baker
Support my son Arnie King by signing his petition to commute the life (without parole) sentence so that he can become eligible for parole release.
This is important because Arnie is requesting a 6th public hearing. Governor Patrick rejected a 6-0 favorable vote in 2008, and Arnie was granted another hearing in October 2010. Two months after the hearing, a police officer was killed by a lifer on parole. The governor then fired 5 parole board members and selected replacements. After that, Arnie received an unfavorable vote in March 2011, and he was denied another hearing request in March 2013. Arnie is responsible for killing a man in 1971, when he was 18 and had been drinking and drugging for several days. He has been clean for over 30 years now, obtained 3 college degrees, successfully completed more than 2 dozen weekend furloughs, participated in and created many support, rehabilitation, and education programs, and he remains very active in community service. Based on his age, the number of years he has served in prison, his level of educational achievement, and his community service while inside prison, Arnie is no longer a risk for danger to society. Over the years he has formed many significant bonds with people who are high achievers, and they support his reentry as a contributing member to society, including offers of employment and the prospects of becoming a taxpayer rather than costing the state $50,000/annually. Here are a few examples of support shown at Arnie's public hearings over the past 7 years: Charles Ogletree (Professor, Harvard Law), I have never seen anyone transform their life the way he has in the more than 40 years of service in prison. Gloria Fox (State Representative), I believe he is a changed man … and we support this commutation. Mel King (Professor Emeritus/MIT), What we need to see in this world is epitomized by Arnie and his change and behavior… Jill Soffiyah Elijah (Attorney), How many youth counselors have I met regularly, who have been impacted by Mr. King! Reverend William Dickerson (Greater Love Tabernacle), Arnie King is not the average inmate. He doesn’t play games. He is sincere. Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond (Bethel AME), I appreciate that he inspires young people to make the right choices and not simply scare them. We really need the voice and presence of Arnie King. Eva Clark (Executive Director, Judge Banks Community Justice Program), Nothing short of catastrophic illness would prevent me from being here today to support Arnie King. Lyn Levy (Executive Director, SPAN, Inc.), I met Arnie in 1976 and I will be one of the people holding his hand. Our agency will help him also. Dr. Fran Roznowski (Community Psychologist), I have known Arnie since 1979, and I will be joining many others to have his back. Robin Casarjian (Executive Director, Lion Heart Foundation), For 15 years, he showed up with a sense of purpose and encouraged other prisoners to participate in group activities. Bob David (Side By Side Community Circle), Of the large numbers of disciplinary reports, some may be questionable, while other were earned. Paul Marcus (Executive Director, Community Change Inc.), What Arnie’s life means to me is the power of transformation, and society needs to see this example. Abrigal Forrester (Street Safe Boston), I’m here as a product of Arnie King. Hope – Lifeline – Redemption. He engaged the ignorance within me and told me I had value. Peter McGuane (Student, Truck Driver), I was in for involuntary manslaughter, and he got me active with Prison Voices, which I continued upon release. I’m honored to be here for Arnie. Paule Verdet (Professor Emeritus/BU), It’s a way of life for Arnie. He is a superb model. Becky Thompson (Professor/Simmons College), Recognizing Mr. King as a man worthy of commutation, no one benefits if the policy exists theoretically but is never granted. Felix Arroyo, Sr. (former Boston City Councillor), The first time I met Mr. King, I was with his brother. I wondered about him and found a calm person, at peace with himself. We have a recourse… ‘cause I know it will help our community. Nancy Murray (ACLU), Why is the community present? We are interested in redemption… He couldn’t bring back the life, but he would do what he could to try to prevent others from going down that path. George Lee (Community Organizer), I heard a lot about him. He wasn’t about tooting his own horn. He was present for young folks and the other men. Seth Kirshenbaum (Director, The City School), Having Arnie with us in the community will help save young lives, and we have a job or volunteer opportunity for him. Banjineh Brown (Boston School Teacher), He works with prevention. The “Arnie” factor is about redemption, and we use him as a case study. He is an entrepreneur activist. Jason Lydon (Minister), Through Barbed Wire has been quite active at the Community Church of Boston. Aaron Tanaka (Boston Workers Alliance), I hope you will see his deep commitment to change and rehabilitation. Dianne Zimbabwe (Community Artist/Educator), My involvement with Through Barbed Wire allows me to witness the positive impact of Arnie’s community endeavors. Myriam Ortiz (Executive Director, Boston Parents Organizing Network), Arnie King has been an asset to us and students benefit from his example. Daniel King (Brother), I was a 16 year old teenager in 1971. We have prayed for the family of John Labanara for comfort and peace, and we hope for their forgiveness. Marva King (Sister), It matters that we heal together. Eddie Berkin (Attorney), People are much more friends than supporters. Because they are friends, they are also supporters. Margaret Burnham (Attorney), Your legal obligation is to review and decide whether this man has made exceptional strides in development. Walt Silva, Ed D (Professor Emeritus/BU), Arnie is the classic example of prison injustice gone way over the top. He's jumped through every hoop, made every effort to contribute to the community from behind bars more than anyone else that I have known in my 25 years involved in prison higher education, and remains in prison at a cost of what - $60,000 + a year when he could be out contributing and paying taxes with zero threat to anyone? I have written to Governor Patrick more than once, concerning parole in general and Arnie specifically. If Arnie King doesn't qualify for commutation, then who does? It sends a sad message back to the prison population. If Arnie doesn't get a consideration, what's the sense of trying? But I'm sure Arnie doesn't feel that way, and will continue to keep contributing from behind bars. Imagine what he could do if he were out. He's paid his dues several times over. Arnie is the 3rd of 9 children through which many grandchildren and great grandchildren are a major part of this family circle. I complete 82 years of living this month, full of tremendous joys and blessings. However, this journey will be incomplete until I’m able to welcome Arnie’s return to the world community. My son has been inside Massachusetts prisons for the 1971 murder of another human being. He was 18, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in Boston, and responsible for the death of this young man. Our entire family-and-friends network was devastated, as well as that of the Labanara family. After Arnie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole, I traveled to Massachusetts with his younger brothers and sisters to visit him in the maximum security prison. I told him that “God would not forsake him and neither would our family-and-friends community”. Arnie has grown, matured, and progressed during this lengthy period of imprisonment. He obtained 3 college degrees, created major rehabilitative programs within the prison and offered services to communities beyond the walls. He has been encouraged by many people, while inspiring the success of others. By examining the volumes of documents, transcripts, and opinions, it will become clear - the need to support the eventual release of my son. God Bless and One Love! Please sign the petition and encourage your family members and friends to support this effort. - Mary King
Petition to Tsetska Tsacheva, Maya Manolova, Boyko Borissov
Stop repressions of Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association and its founder Jock Palfreeman!
Bulgarians abroad and their international friends ask Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva to step up in her role as decision-maker and stop repressions of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, its founder Jock Palfreeman, and members and supporters of the organization. We are aware and highly concerned about ongoing repressions of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, the only union of prisoners in Bulgaria. We demand that Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsacheva intervenes to end the repressions, in all their forms, and to repeal legally unsound punitive disciplinary measures against Jock Palfreeman, the organization’s founder. Minister Tsacheva, you have the ability to make key decisions, and you bear responsibility for the unlawful actions of the Chief Penal Directorate, under the auspices of Deputy Minister Nikolai Prodanov. Stop them. We support the mission and activities of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association. A legally registered NGO, it plays an important role for the advancement of needed reforms in the criminal justice and prison system of Bulgaria. The Association contributes to the development of Bulgarian society and its commitment to the values and legal norms of the European Union. We have faith that the Bulgarian Minister of Justice understands the seriousness of the matter. International public and media information in the case of Palfreeman and repressions of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association is growing – in the US, Europe, and other countries. It does not present Bulgaria and the Ministry of Justice in good light. Minister Tsatcheva is in a position to change this state of things. For more information: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=531285970398789&id=336784633182258
Petition to Vermont State Legislature
Vermont State Legislature : Pass a bill abolishing Life Without Parole Sentencing
Vermont no longer executes people. But Vermont has yet to stop the inhuman and immoral practice of death by incarceration: life sentences without the possibility of parole. Please join us in an effort to replace the sentence of life without the possibility of parole with a maximum sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Learn more: This change would not guarantee release after 20 years (or ever). The parole board will appropriately conclude that some individuals can not be safely returned to the community. But it would ensure that we no longer lock people up and throw away the key. Instead, after decades of punishment, a parole board would assess whether or not supervised parole in the community would be in the best interest of justice and the community. Imprisoning a person for life without any hope of release is a form of mental torture. It removes an important incentive for good conduct within a prison putting other incarcerated people and prison staff at risk. It ignores the known risk that judges and juries sometimes make mistakes. It ignores research that shows that many people who committed a serious crime are highly unlikely to ever do so again, and it ignores the human capacity to change. Vermont has already taken the step of eliminating the sentence of lifewithout the possibility of parole for juveniles. It is time for Vermont to extend the same recognition of justice and humanity to all incarcerated Vermonters.