Harrisburg rally aims to change life sentence parole laws

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Senate bill 942 aims to give prisoners sentenced to life without parole a chance at redemption.

In Pennsylvania, you receive mandatory life without parole if convicted of first or second degree murder, even if you’re not the one convicted of pulling the trigger.

The girlfriend of an inmate sentenced to life without parole for being at the scene of a 1986 murder, Elizabeth Geyer, spoke at todays rally. 

“They get life, and they’re just tossed away like they don’t matter, they’re not human. They do matter. They matter to me,” Geyer said. 

The man who was convicted of the actual murder, was released decades ago.

 Senator Sharif Street has introduced senate bill 942, which gives prisoners serving life sentences a chance at parole after 15 years. Street says redemption should be available for all, but the Lt. Governor, Mike Stack, stresses that it is not a policy that will be open to all inmates.

“We’re not just saying we’re opening the prison doors. We’re saying that people can change,” he stated.

Other supporters say the bill does not create a right to parole, and dangerous criminals will remain behind bars. Pennsylvania currently has the second highest number of people serving life without parole in the country, including second highest amount of elderly prisoners.

Senate bill 942 has been in the senate judiciary committee since October, but If passed, it would extend parole eligibility retroactively.

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