Life Without Parole For Felony Murder: Case Targets Sentencing Law

A first-of-its-kind court case in Pennsylvania is asking a big question: How long do people need to stay in prison before they get a second chance?

More than 1,000 people are serving life without parole in Pennsylvania, even though they never intended to kill anyone. Seventy percent of those people are Black.


Facing Life

At the end of 2018, more than 5,400 people in Pennsylvania were serving life without the possibility of parole. Some advocates refer to this sentence as death by incarceration.

On Thursday, the Board of Pardons will hold hearings for three people serving life without the possibility of parole and could vote Friday on recommending commutations for eight others who had hearings earlier this year.

The Appeal, over the course of several months, met with nine people who had been released from prison after being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Five of these people were resentenced because their crimes occurred when they were children, two had their adult convictions commuted and two were exonerated.

Combined this group served more than 250 years in prison.