Senator Street Hosts Series of 'Mayor of Graterford' Screenings

“The Mayor of Graterford,” a social justice documentary produced by students at Villanova University, examines the issue of life without parole sentencing and the commutation process in Pennsylvania through the experiences of current and former inmates.

Elizabeth Geyer

Elizabeth tells the story of her boyfriend George Trudel who is serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania state prison. He is serving life without chance of parole for something he didn’t do.

Kempis Songster

Kempis Songster is a former juvenile lifer. In 1987, at the age of 15, he ran away from home and recruited into a criminal organization. He was part of an explosive act of violence that resulted in the death of a human being. He spent 30 years in jail.

Shavonne Robbins

Shavonne Robbins is a former juvenile lifer. She spent 25 years at the Muncy State Correctional Institution for a robbery that went wrong.

Street & Advocates Rally To End Life Without Parole

Senator Sharif Street and allies rallied to end life without parole in Pennsylvania, as outlined in his bill, Senate Bill 942. “For those out there who believe in the power of God to change the hearts, minds, and souls, we need to acknowledge that and we have the opportunity for those redeemed souls to reunite with their families and that we do not waste taxpayer money incarcerating those who do not need to be incarcerated,” said Senator Street.

End Death by Incarceration in PA. Support Senate Bill 942 and House Bill 135

The Truth About SB 942

The Facts

Senate Bill 942 does not create a right to parole. Public safety is key, and anyone deemed too great a risk to the public, as is customary, will be denied by the Board. In fact, thousands of prisoners in Pennsylvania, including those convicted of 3rd Degree murder (which does not carry a life sentence), approach the parole board to explore release and are routinely denied.

The Strange Reality

The Felony Murder Rule (2nd Degree Murder) in PA charges accomplices/co-conspirators as murderers: anyone present or in the company of someone during a felony that results in a person’s death.  This sometimes includes people who had no knowledge a crime was being committed. There are instances, as in the case of George Trudell, when actual murders are released and those in their company are sentenced to a death by incarceration.

Who Serves Life

Not all life without parole sentences are for murder or sex crimes. There are those serving life without parole for more than three instances of violence. There are also people serving life for repeated drug offenses, in some instances inconsistent with the national affirmation of the disease of addiction in the wake of the opioid crisis.

Battered Women

Lifers in PA also include battered women guilty of killing their attackers at a time (in the 70s and 80s) when courts did not recognize “Battered Women’s Syndrome” as a viable defense. This changed in the nineties, however any abused women convicted in the 70’s and 80’s of killing their attackers are still destined to die behind bars.

What we can do about it?  Pass Senate Bill 942.

About PA Senate Bill 942

All life sentences in Pennsylvania are imposed without the possibility of parole. This means that individuals sentenced to life imprisonment may not be considered for parole, no matter how much they have reformed themselves and no matter how unlikely they are to re-offend. Those sentenced to life without parole in Pennsylvania also have no chance at release when they grow so ill or elderly they pose little to no risk to the public. Not only does this represent an injustice to an individual who is a model inmate despite having no chance at life outside of prison, but it also creates an avoidable expense for the corrections system – and the taxpayers who fund it – by incarcerating individuals longer than necessary.

SUPPORT SB 942! Take Action!

Let’s save Money! Let’s give our elderly quality of life! Join us today! Change happens when we work together!

Latest News

500 Advocates Flood Capitol to Demand Parole Reform for Lifers

500 Advocates Flood Capitol to Demand Parole Reform for Lifers

“This event is a continuation of Senator Street’s Redemption Tour to Reform Life without Parole in PA and focused on families of incarcerated people who have lost loved ones to violence “ HARRISBURG, PA (October 24, 2019) – On October 23, Senator Street joined over...

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As senator, Sharif is committed to improving access to healthcare, reforming our criminal justice system, creating quality jobs, funding our public schools, investing in science and technology and fighting for the rights of all Pennsylvanians.

An attorney by profession, Sharif began his public career as a community activist organizing a Town Watch group while in law school. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance- and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as president of the Penn Law Democrats.

Their Stories

Dorothy Farbo

Dorothy Farbo

My name is Dorothy Farbo. I am 69 years old and sentenced to Life Without Parole.  I am presently housed at SCI Cambridge Springs, a minimum-security prison with 26 years in on this sentence. The woman I am today ventures far from the trauma/ICU Nurse I once was. ...

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Robert J. Swartworth

Robert J. Swartworth has been incarcerated at SCI Huntington since 1979. His accomplice shot and killed a local business owner, and Robert was then sentenced to serve life without parole, despite not actually killing anyone in his life. He has served 38 years of this...

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William Smith

William Smith

In 1968, William Smith and William Barksdale walked into a check-cashing store at 56th Street and Chester Avenue to commit an armed robbery. Shopkeeper Charles Ticktin was killed in the ensuing chaos by William Barksdale, while Mr. Smith's sole responsibility was to...

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