We are aware that these issues lead to devastated communities. Our focus is to promote programs to rehabilitate prisoners and assist returning citizens, support expungement clinics throughout the state, and help dismantle Life Without Parole.

Team Mission

We work to end:

  • mass incarceration, especially of people of color, due to unjust drug laws;
  • mandatory minimum sentences;
  • unfair administration of justice including over-policing, cash bail, and prosecutorial overreach;
  • educational apartheid;
  • inferior education;
  • poor access to employment

Meeting Dates

Our Team meets monthly via Zoom, every month except June and December, on the last Monday of the month, at 8 PM

2021 Meeting Dates:
April 26
May 24
July 26
August 30
September 27
October 25
November 29

To attend our meetings on Zoom:
From your PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android,
click this link:

https://zoom.us/j/7132347624

Or by phone:

1-408.638.0968 or 646.558.8656
Meeting ID – 713-234-7624

How We Work for “Good Government”

Our issues span both the state and local levels, and include these issues:

Pandemic Response: Our current focus is the impact of COVID 19 on inmates and staff of state prisons and county jails. These institutions are petri dishes for the spread of COVID. It is impossible to socially distance. We have signed on to a comprehensive list of demands of Gov. Wolf, the state legislature, DOC, and the Parole Board, all of which have a role to play in reducing the spread. Being imprisoned should not be a death sentence.

Ending Death by Incarceration: In PA, anyone found guilty of first- or second-degree murder is automatically sentenced to life without parole. The judge has no discretion to do otherwise. Thus, a person who was merely a lookout or getaway driver when a murder occurs is charged with second-degree murder. There are now more than 5,000 persons sentenced to die in PA prisons, many of them elderly. “Death by Incarceration” is expensive to taxpayers, as well as inhumane to the individuals affected.

Upcoming Events

CLICK HERE
to link to our Calendar!

Legislative Goals

Specific bill numbers/status coming soon

Defeat

Specific bill numbers/status coming soon

Resources

Abolitionist Law Center Report

  • A Way Out: Abolishing Death By Incarceration in PA (Full Report)
  • A Way Out: Abolishing Death By Incarceration in PA (Abridged Report)Legislative Talking Points

 

Comprehensive Resource Guides
(Compiled by Travis Farrell)

  • Anti-Mass Incarceration Resource Guide
  • White Privilege Resource Guide

 

Other Resources

  • Life Without Parole in PA
  • The Marshall Project
  • Mass-Incarceration Report
  • Starter Kit for Teaching

Probation and Parole Reform:  Major reform is badly needed in this area. A failure to report a change is residence or employment can get a person sent back to jail. A majority of legislators in the last session supported reform, but the bill was
bottled up and then extensively amended in committee. This was a huge disappointment, and we joined our partners in opposing its passage.

Reform of Act 111: The legislation that provides binding arbitration for police and firefighters in lieu of the right to strike was passed in 1968. The binding arbitration determines pay raises and policy, and resolves disciplinary issues. In Philadelphia, more than 70% of the discipline cases that go to binding arbitration result in a reduced punishment and/or restoration of prior status. Two reform bills were introduced last session, one by a Democrat and one by a Republican. Stay tuned for a hoped-for collaboration.

Solitary Confinement: Our team joined the PA Council of Churches in support of a bill that would limit and reform its use in terms of frequency and duration. Numerous studies have documented the harmful psychological effects of long-
term solitary confinement.

Occupational Licensure Reform: We are happy to report success in this area in Pennsylvania’s last legislative session. Each licensing agency is required to revisit and revise its regulations, and make individualized decisions. Now, for example, returning citizens will be able to apply for a
barber’s license.

Additional legislative goals:

  • End the death penalty
  • Oppose mandatory minimum sentences
  • Bail Reform
  • Divest from for-profit prison industries
  • End prison gerrymandering (the bill introduced last session would use the inmate’s former residence, rather than prison address, for census and for establishing legislative districts)

Action Alerts

Check back soon for the latest updates!

In the News

Check back soon for the latest updates!

More About Our Team

 

 Our Team leaders: Margaret Carrow and Michelle Copiabianco

Our team has joined other organizations in public rallies, calling for fair commutation and ending death by incarceration. Various UU congregations are involved in related local issues; for example, the UU Fellowship of Centre County has revitalized the Centre County Chapter of the PA Prison Society. This has resulted in improved conditions in the county jail and in two state prisons.