HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation that would end the mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for those convicted of second-degree murder.
State Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) says Pennsylvania is one of two states that mandates life sentences without parole for those convicted of murder.
Briggs says his legislation would change the sentencing requirement “to a more humane and compassionate option that would provide consideration of release once the individual has served 25 years of their sentence.”
In his memo to lawmakers, Briggs cites a Susquehanna Polling & Research poll, commissioned by Families Against Mandatory Minimums, that showed 79% of residents believe “Judges should weigh circumstances so those who did not intend to kill/injure can be sentenced less harshly.”
Sixteen percent agreed that “Judges should be required to give everyone involved in felony murder a life sentence without parole.”
A 2021 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows that over 1,000 people (2.9% of the inmate population) were serving sentences for second-degree murder.
The average inmate in Pennsylvania serves 32 years for second-degree murder, according to the DOC report.
Briggs says the bill would “enable a chance at redemption for these currently incarcerated individuals.”