Lawmakers call for life-without-parole reform

Pennsylvania
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Legislation introduced in the state House of Representatives would give a second chance to some people serving life in prison without parole.

House Bill 135, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia), would provide a chance to seek parole after serving 25 or 35 years of a life sentence.

People convicted of murdering a law enforcement officer would not be eligible.

“We are locking away so many positive role models that could diffuse a lot of the crime that we are seeing throughout this nation and throughout this world,” Dawkins said in a statement. “There are some powerful stories being told of experience. These lessons are the one thing young people are missing. If they have the chance to hear the experience of the folks who spent 25, 35 or even 45 years behind bars, they may make different decisions about their lives.”

State Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) has introduced a companion bill. Both proposals would create a reentry program to assist people who are released under the new eligibility standards.

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