Folks from CADBI-West will be participating in the Juneteenth parade and uplifting Senate Bill 942 alongside Senator Street, one of the bill’s cosponsors. Senate Bill 942 is an important piece of legislation that has the ability to end the life without parole sentence in Pennsylvania. Join CADBI – West at the Juneteenth Parade in Pittsburgh to raise awareness of and build support for this bill!
When: Saturday June 23rd, starts at 10:00 am
Where: The parade begins at Freedom Corner (Crawford Ave & Centre Ave), and will end at Point State Park.
Who, what, and why: CADBI – West will be at Senator Street’s tent in Point State Park. There will be an open mic there where families of incarcerated people can share their stories, and we will be raising awareness about SB942, HB135 and Death by Incarceration in Pennsylvania.
The Struggle to End Death by Incarceration This panel discussion took place on January 20, 2018 at the Summit Against Racism in Pittsburgh, PA. Tiffany Sizemore and Yusef Jones facilitated the afternoon, highlighting the stories of Sharif Boyd, Paulette Carrington and Troy David. All of whom have been released from prison within the last year […]
The Struggle to End Death by Incarceration in PA
Over 5,300 Pennsylvanians are sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, otherwise known as death-by-incarceration (DBI). DBI sentences deny the basic humanity of those serving this sentence, permanently exclude people from their families and communities, exacerbate the trauma and effects of violence, and impact communities of color even more disproportionately than other aspects of the criminal legal system. This panel will consist of three formerly incarcerated people who were released in the last year. They have collectively served 106 years in prison. We will focus on the need to end DBI sentences, the panelists experiences serving DBI sentences and transitioning back to life outside of prison, as well as experiences with the criminal legal system.
Facilitators: Yusef Jones and Tiffany Sizemore Thompson Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI-West)
By Glenn E. Martin published on Medium, October 30, 2018
On Labor Day 2017, Giovanni Jerry Reid of Philadelphia was released from Graterford Prison in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He had served 26 years of a life sentence without possibility of parole, imposed when he was only 16 years old. On that warm, sunny morning, as he took his very first steps as a free adult, Giovanni was greeted by his family, his friends, and his lawyer in an emotional reunion. Giovanni Reid is not the first, nor will he be the last “juvenile lifer” to leave prison behind. There is a quiet drama unfolding in Pennsylvania as more than 500 men and 10 women, many now in their 50s and 60s, are re-sentenced. Many will return to their communities. Read More Here
HARRISBURG – To his mother, Felix Rosado, a Reading man serving a life sentence for a 1995 murder, is redemption personified, an example of why Pennsylvania’s 5,100 lifers should get a chance at parole.
In his 22 years in prison, Rosado has earned a liberal arts degree from Villanova University, and wants to be free to share his story with troubled youths, said Iris Drey of Reading, who visits her son twice a month at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, where he’s imprisoned.At the age of 18, Rosado pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the shooting death of Hiep Q. Nguyen, 24, whose body was found in a car. Drey blames drugs and the wrong crowd as factors in her son’s life.Rosado has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that his attorney failed to tell him he could plead guilty to third-degree murder if he admitted to an “intoxication defense.”Lower courts have ruled against him, but his mother hopes two new bills introduced this week in the Pennsylvania Legislature will one day give her son a chance at parole, at freedom.
Drey joined a large crowd, mostly inmates’ families, at a rally Wednesday for the bills, one in the Senate and another in the House, that would give inmates serving life sentences a chance at parole after serving 15 years.Supporters say life sentences are inhuman, and deny inmates who are rehabilitated a chance to contribute to society. Freeing those inmates who deserve parole also would save taxpayers money, they say.Drey is certain her son, now 40, has shown that he has earned freedom.”He’s changed a lot,” she said. “He learned his lesson a long time ago, and he’s waiting for an opportunity to give back.”
Capitol Rotunda packed
The rally drew a large number of supporters, many of them members of the Philadelphia-based Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration. They filled the Capitol Rotunda and marched through the hallways, singing songs in an attempt to sway legislators.
Among the rally’s speakers were the legislators who are sponsoring the bills and Rosado, who has become one of the voices for reform. Speaking from a phone in cellblock B of Graterford and amplified by speakers into the Rotunda, Rosado decried the hopelessness of life in prison and “the unrecognized potential trapped behind prison walls.””Let’s do something different – let’s live, let us bring light instead of death,” he told the crowd. “We have damage to repair, and we’re ready to pull our sleeves up.”
Twenty-five nations have declared life without parole unconstitutional, and parolees have low rates of recidivism, many becoming peer educators, according to the coalition.Taxpayers would save money if lifers who qualified for parole were to be freed, the coalition says: It costs an average of $42,000 a year to incarcerate someone in a Pennsylvania prison.”Maybe (life without parole) worked in old times, but now it’s the time to reevaluate this thing and see what works,” said Rep. Joanna McClinton, a Philadelphia Democrat who supports the House version of a bill to give lifers a chance at parole.
‘Free my son’
Of Pennsylvania’s 5,100 lifers, 65 percent are black and 8.5 percent are Latino, and the racial disproportion can be a factor in whether people outside cities are willing to consider parole eligibility for inmates, some supporters said.
“They literally think our loved ones are savage animals,” said Lorraine Haw, a Philadelphia mother whose son is serving a life sentence. “We all make mistakes – they’re just paying with their lives for theirs.”At the rally, Drey held a handmade sign, fashioned from letter-sized paper and ink pen, that read, “Free my son.”While she’s attended other rallies by the coalition, she has not lobbied Berks County legislators on the issue, at least not yet.”People who did not go through what I went through, they don’t care,” she said.