This is Paul Rodgers reporting from the state penitentiary at SCI Chester.
I recommend we do a investigative report and survey on life without the possibility of parole sentences. The focus will be on how many citizens of Pennsylvania actually know that life sentences mean until a person’s life expire. Additionally, we seek to know whether citizens in Pennsylvania support this esntence and agree with its legislative intent.
In fact, one of the reasons for a investigative report will be to determine the original intentions of delegating life sentences and whether those reasons are still valid. Was it for the deterrence discouraging potential offenders from committing murder of the first and second degree, or was it to prevent violent criminals from reoffending? It should have been the execution of justice for the benefits of all in society, not just merely revenge on the offenders.
The assumption is that legislative intent are valid or effective are erroneous. As a convicted homicidal offender, I can honestly state that the criminal statutes and penal codes are an effective way to prevent criminal behavior. The statistics of those who reoffend after serving 25 years and have reached the age of 50 or over demonstrate the excessiveness of this draconian law. It was reported several years ago in [inaudible] newsletter, less than 1% of people in this category reoffend which causes me to believe society blindly resists any legislation that would strike down life sentences. If homicide offenders can be rehabilitated safely and safely returned back to society, why shouldn’t they be made eligible for parole?
Also, if there is roughly 5000 lifers sentenced to die in prison, how can we build a movement unifying their collective families and friends into a bloc vote? I know several organizations already exist that are committed to abolishing life. The Coalition Against Death Penalty, excuse me, the Coalition Against Death by Incarceration and the Human Rights Coalition to name a few. I’m not sure if an effort has ever been made to unite at least one person connected to each lifer into a bloc vote.
One of the reasons I’m passionate about this issue is because I’m serving a life sentence and been incarcerated for 32 years. I personally would like to see this law change. And from a society perspective, the resources spent to incarcerate lifers will be better served in education, mental health, and other public services at least.
A conversation needs to take place to see whether the majority of citizens in Pennsylvania are in support of this law. One of the things I think has fundamentally changed is the presumption that life in prison are a lenient sentence. People are gradually beginning to view the sentences as death by incarceration, especially in states where life sentences mean until one’s life expires.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.