Life without parole in PA

Home sweet home....but does it have to be for life?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not offer the possibility of parole to prisoners that are sentenced to life.  This life without parole includes minors who have been sentenced to life in prison.  Based on that fact, life in prison without the possibility of parole should not be an option for sentencing.

Teenagers make poor decisions.  They jump into a situation without thinking about where it may take them.  The odds are already stacked against teenagers, especially those born into low-income families.  Households with absent parents allow children to grow up without rules, expectations or role models.  It is these children who turn into wild teenagers out on the streets, committing senseless crimes without considering the consequences.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, an eighteen-year-old is out with his “friends” and they decide to rob a convenience store for quick cash and cigarettes.  “Joe” parks his car just out of reach of the camera lens.  He and his two friends jump out of the car and rush towards the store.  His friends are packing heat but Joe doesn’t know this.  There are no customers in the store and Joe follows “Frank” and “Ed” through the door with pantyhose pulled over their faces.  The owner’s wife dies after Frank accidentally shoots her in a panic.  Frank was sixteen, Ed was twenty-two, and all were three found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.  This is where the system fails.  People at this age could still be rehabilitated and exit prison a better person.

The life imprisonment of what most people still consider children becomes an enormous debt to PA.  A judge may sentence a minor as an adult and believe that is just punishment for shooting an unarmed woman for $120 and a carton of Newports.  It doesn’t matter if he meant to shoot her or not, the act has already happened and the result is his loss of freedom.  Reality has just hit home for all three and their young minds cannot grasp how they went from kicking it with friends, to prison until death do they part.

Pennsylvania needs to realize that putting its youth into prison for life is not a sensible action.  Rehabilitation is the key at this young age so they learn from their errors and get another chance to do right by mankind.  Based on a prisoner’s willingness and ability to change the learned behaviors of the past and accept responsibility for the future, they could be integrated back into society and have a positive effect in people’s lives.

A detention and rehabilitation system would benefit the offending youth of PA.  A chance to try again, but with strings attached.  After serving a sentence and receiving parole they must live by the laws of the commonwealth.  They are undeniably adults now and realize the severity of consequences for quick cash and smokes.    This is their opportunity to prove they can act as adults.

A successful system would greatly cut back the cost of operating a prison and give young prisoners this second try, under the state’s watchful eye.  The threat of going back to prison would be the motivator and that is enough to keep a former prisoner out of trouble.  This system would return a former wild-child back into civilization as a matured adult, ready to start a new life.

The current prisoners serving a life sentence should be reviewed on an individual basis.  Those who were sentenced as adults while under the age of eighteen should be viewed first.  Next should be those who were sentenced at age eighteen to twenty-five and so on until all have been reviewed.  A decision of each person in prison for life should be made to determine if they can be rehabilitated and return to society.

Those criminals in prison for life, especially the young prisoners, get left in a system that does nothing for them.  It could be said that this is just punishment for their crime, but if there is a chance of good coming from a teenager’s bad decision, PA should make that work to its advantage.  Give the youth of PA a second chance in society while their brain is still in the learning process.  These youths need role models, goals and most importantly, rules to follow to successfully recreate themselves for their departure from the prison system.  PA should not give young offenders life without parole because these youth need to have hope.  Hope gives them desire to be rehabilitated.  Otherwise, PA is just keeping an animal caged until it dies.

 

I received 100/100 with a note to spell out Pennsylvania next time.  LOL

~P.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with life in prison as well. I favor the death penalty for taking the life of another.

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