After nearly two decades in prison, Isaac Rivera was ready to remake himself. The 41-year-old from Lancaster served time after a 1997 arrest on assault and rape charges, but he felt that his violent past was behind him – if only he could find a way to jump-start his reinvention.
These are the first of 517 juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania, the largest such contingent in the nation, to be resentenced and released on parole following a Supreme Court decision that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for minors are unconstitutional. – Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
To see the juvenile lifer Kempis Songster, a man of 45, graying at the beard, seeking the mercy of a judge Monday at his resentencing for a crime committed decades ago drove home the pain of what the victim’s father lost the day two teenage runaways killed his son in a fortified crack house in Southwest Philadelphia.
After serving their time, today’s inmates will return to their homes and community. In essence, prison health becomes public health, said Hannah Zellman, program director with Philadelphia FIGHT, the nonprofit that hosted Wednesday’s “Beyond the Walls: Prison Healthcare and Reentry Summit.” The annual summit began as a tiny conference focused on the intersection of HIV/AIDS and incarceration.
Parents should be consistent, punishing kids immediately, predictably and fairly when they misbehave. The same logic, some believe, should guide our criminal justice system. The problem with the way probation and parole violations are addressed – according to Bret Bucklen, director of research at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections – is that authorities act like lousy parents.