Across PA People Call on District Attorneys to Support Elder Parole

An collage shows an elderly incarcerated white man with a beard next to his loved one. A picture shows them as young people

On Thursday, February 17th, people from Philadelphia, Allegheny, Chester, Berks, Delaware and Montgomery counties took part in a creative mobilization on social media to call on the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association to support parole for aging people in prison. Watch the video below to see how people took action to win a pathway home for their friends, family and loved ones. 



Over 8,200 people in Pennsylvania are sentenced to life without parole or ‘virtual’ life sentences that ensure they will die in prison. This number does not count the many other people incarcerated on very long sentences who might just as well succumb to illness or old age before they leave prison. Pennsylvania is turning prisons into nursing homes and doing so at a tremendous cost to their loved ones, their communities and society at large.

Our communities need our elders home. The vast majority of aging people in prison have spent decades in prison and most have turned their lives around over the years. It’s well documented that aging people have a vanishingly small rate of reoffending after release from prison. And we must not waste money on perpetual punishment that would be better spent on education and anti-violence initiatives that could in fact make our communities safer places.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) brings together the political power of 66 elected district attorneys in Pennsylvania and has a significant sway over criminal justice legislation in the Pennsylvania legislature. We believe that it is in the interest of district attorneys across the Commonwealth to put the communities we all belong to and our shared humanity first.

Join us in supporting the possibility of a second look for people who have spent decades behind bars. Sign the petition asking the PDAA to support SB835, a bill that would create geriatric parole in Pennsylvania.