PA has one of the largest populations of people sentenced to die in prison in the US — 5,467. As of January 31 2021, there are 521 people in Pennsylvania who were sentenced to death by incarceration before they even reached the age of 18. This is the largest population of juvenile lifers on the planet. Every day, the dire conditions of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections pushes them closer to the brink of destruction. “Life without parole” is intentional phrasing that diminishes the horror of the circumstance. A life without parole sentence is an agonizingly slow death sentence— it is Death by Incarceration.
COVID-19 has deeply intensified the violence and organized neglect that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has enacted on our incarcerated family— especially the elderly. Sergio Hyland informs us of Tommy Pirant’s tragic death in his latest, ‘PA’s Fretless Mishandling of COVID-19.’ The PA Department of Corrections cut Pirant’s life short. Never able to complete his commutations process, Pirant passed away from COVID on January 23rd, 2021.
“With the elderly most at risk of succumbing to this virus, many people believe that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is turning a blind eye to the danger, hoping that the virus will finish what the government started.
In Pennsylvania, a life sentence is a death sentence. And with the aging population of prisoners steadily increasing, so too is the prison budget. This leaves many of us to wonder if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and government officials are conspiring to rid themselves of costly financial liabilities.”
Pennsylvanians will not sit by idly while their community members suffer under state laws that mark them as irredeemable. Everyday, they are working on bringing lifers home.
Prison Radio joins Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration in its insistence that these practices violate human rights – that that they diminish the humanity of all of us. We join Decarcerate PA, Fight for Lifers, the Human Rights Coalition, and Right to Redemption in the campaign to end Death By Incarceration sentencing in PA.
With your help, we can help shift the public perception on Death by Incarceration in Pennsylvania. Prison Radio is running a campaign to help upheave the social perceptions of Death by Incarceration in Pennsylvania. Help us raise funds to sponsor Let’s Get Free campaign billboards across the state, or share across social media platforms.
Listening and bearing witness is important. But by themselves, they are not enough. The United States Justice system has always been consistent in its mission to police, punish, and isolate our most vulnerable community members. Because of this, our work to undermine the violence of the justice system cannot falter. Please join us.
When We Fight, We Win!
Prison Radio Staff