Report from Amistad Law on recent decisions from BOP re: Commutations –
Amistad Law Project’s Statement on the September 2020 Public Hearings
On September 4th we celebrated small progress at the Board of Pardons and we demand even more. As a result of this week’s hearings at the Board of Pardons 9 incarcerated people, over 40% of the cases being heard, received a recommendation for commutation by the Board and will likely come home, pending Governor Wolf’s signature. We are elated for Avis Lee, Mildred Strickland, Henrietta Harris, Kevin Butler, Daniel Cummings, Reid Evans, Wyatt Evans, Francisco Mojica and Gregory Stover, and celebrate with their communities, which will be stronger upon their return. People obtaining their deserved freedom is a joyful thing, and brings us closer to a true healing and safety for our communities.
While we are elated for those that might come home to their communities upon receiving the Governor’s signature, we are deeply disturbed by the Board’s denial of so many exemplary candidates for commutation. People like Felix Rosado, Michael Rinaldi and Richie Marra should be out here with us. We will continue to fight for a commutation system and a Board of Pardons that can hold the complex realities of accountability, mercy, and humanity and we will hold the members of this Board accountable when they neglect their responsibilities.
The progress shown by today’s results is no accident. Movements across Pennsylvania have been fighting for a fair commutation process for years. After decades of a completely broken commutation system, today’s hearing is evidence that we are taking some small steps in the right direction.
However, the journey isn’t complete yet. All rehabilitated lifers must have a pathway home. While the masses are rising up to defend Black lives and reclaim funding for our communities, the Board of Pardons voted too many times for mass incarceration and the continued separation of families. We will fight for a commutation system and a Board of Pardons that can hold the complex realities of accountability, mercy, and humanity and we will hold the members of this Board accountable when they neglect their responsibilities. Fueled by hope and care, we will organize and build power across the state to bring rehabilitated people home from prison and end perpetual punishment. We refuse to give an inch in this struggle.
Commutation Kit –
The Commutation Kit is a resource for people who want to file for commutation. This includes tips for filing the application, tips for writing letters of support, and a sample completed application from someone who was granted commutation.
Commutation Kit with 1 Sample Application (8 pages)
Commutation Kit with 2 Sample Applications (18 pages)
You may also be interested in the 13 point platform for suggested commutation reform put together by Let’s Get Free. This is a trifold pamphlet designed for ledger size paper – so printing may be off.
Statistics of Commutation and the PA Department of Corrections
Pennsylvania Parole and Life Imprisonment by Jon Yount – February 2004
History of Commutation by Lifers Incorporated Commutation Committee – Information Sheet December 21, 2010
Mass Incarceration of the Elderly – Report by the ACLU
Chronological Legal History of Parole and Probation from PA Sentencing