Communities that are most impacted by the epidemic of violence are also most impacted by incarceration. The Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI) recenltly released a report entitled 'Second Chances Don’t Diminish Justice, But Fulfill It': The Voices of Dual Victims in Pennsylvania.This report -- based on a survey of more than 100 people in Pennsylvania who have lost loved ones both to homocide and incarceration -- clearly demonstrates that "dual victims" want resources and healing, not vengance and incarceration.
54% of dual victims surveyed did not believe that the incarceration of the person who killed their loved one contributed to their healing, and 62% did not believe it contributed to their safety. Instead, dual victims supported multiple different strategies for addressing violence. 94% of dual victims surveyed supported parole eligibility for the person who was convicted of killing their loved one.
In the midst of an epidemic of violence across Pennsylvania, we call on legislators to listen to the voices of those most impacted, and do the following:
- Pass legislation to end Life-Without-Parole sentences directly (such as Senate Bill 135), and provide a pathway to parole for everyone serving virtual life sentences by enacting medical and geriatric parole (such as Senate Bill 835).
- Divest resources from incarceration and invest them in healing the communities most impacted by violence, through restorative justice programs, reentry programs, trauma healing programs, and financial investment in the community.
- Publicly acknowledges the links between criminal justice reform and public safety, and transform the Office of Victim Advocate to support individuals and communities most impacted by violence and advocate for second chances, restorative justice, and healing for all Pennsylvanians.