Frequently Asked Questions

What is Parole?

Parole is the release of an inmate from prison prior to his or her sentence’s maximum date, but after the minimum sentence date, to continue serving the balance of the sentence under supervision in the community. Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania will never have the possibility of parole.

If “Lifers” take a life, don’t lifers deserve their sentences?

All lifers aren’t murderers. There are repeat violent-offenders sentenced to life after violating the state’s three-strikes law.  There are also over 1,500 lifers serving second-degree or an unspecified “murder” in which they were present or in the company of someone committing a felony (burglary etc.) which resulted in that person’s death, known as the felony-murder rule. This applies even if they had no knowledge that a crime was going to be committed. There are even instances where the murderer themselves have been released, but those present during the crime will die behind bars.

Who is the sponsor of this bill?

Senator Sharif Street is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 942.

When was SB 942 introduced and where is it currently?

Introduced on October 31, 2017, Senate Bill 942 currently sits in the Judiciary Committee.

Would family members of victims have input in determining who gets paroled?

Absolutely! Senator Street’s senate bill number 942 would give those serving life without parole, the option to approach the Parole Board. Victims have a direct role in the Parole Hearing and help decide if an applicant should be released.

Why is there a need to allow those serving life to explore release?

Tax payers pay $40,000 a year per prisoner, and between $70,000 – $100,000 a year for elderly prisoners, who pose little to no risk to the public.

How do we know older lifers pose little risk?

Only 99 lifers over the age of 50 have ever been released in Pennsylvania. Of these 99, only one has ever been recommitted for a new crime, putting the rate of recommitting a crime at 1.01%.