On Thursday June 23, 2016 The Campaign to Restore Meaningful Commutation hit the Capitol pushing a 12 point platform that would change regulations and practices of the barely functional commutation process.
Reforms to the Commutation process included: Rescinding the Unanimous Vote by the Board of Pardons in case of Life Sentences, Video interviews with lifer applicants before merit review hearing, and Written Reason for Denial of lifer commutation applications. Last but not least, HB 2135 Parole Eligibility for Lifers.
They scheduled meetings with legislators thought to be potential allies, and were impressed with how many of them had visited prisons and met people serving Life.
Rep Ed Gainey from Pittsburgh gave a rousing speech at the rally in support of the bill. Additional surprise speakers included: Joanna E. McClinton & Rep. Patty Kim of Dauphin County.
Some of the speakers included Mae Hadley and Donna Pfender, Lauren Stuparitz spoke from the perspective of a victim – being the survivor of a brutal attack.
On the Senate side of things, Art Haywood, Shirley Kitchen and Greenleaf’s offices were encouraging, informative and uplifting. Liana, the legislative assistant of Mr. Haywood’s staff. Rep.Vanessa Brown. One of our lobby groups met up with Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York, who committed to co-sponsoring bill HB 2135.
Anne Gingrich Cornick, the legal adviser for the BOP, was present in the Governor’s meeting. Ann read the whole platform in front of us and said that most of the points on the platform would require constitutional amendments. Requiring a two third’s majority vote – they need to pass through the House and Senate twice before being put to referendum – a public vote. The Victim’s Advocate position of the BOP was filled by Marsha Grayson. One official advised that our biggest obstacle was the District Attorney’s Lobby.
Stop by The Thomas Merton Center on Aug. 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 to visit RMC.