DOING LIFE IN PENNSYLVANIA
HELLO! My name is Paula Johnson. I am serving a life sentence at (State Correnctional Institution) SCI-Muncy, in Muncy, PA.
Serving a life sentence in PA, means you are incarcerated your whole natural life. Pennsylvania is one of six States where individuals can be sentenced to "Natural Life" behind bars without the possibility of parole.
"What about a parole eligibility bill for meritorious consideration for lifers in Pennsylvania?"
If given the chance, every person should become eligible, but I am not saying that every lifer should be released on parole. However, I am saying there are some of those serving life, who deserve a chance to come home on parole. I know that not many of you think this way, and that is very understandable, but we (lifers and all prisoners) are human beings, and all human beings make mistakes. Yes, some mistakes are much worse than other mistakes. I know and understand this, and I understand why someone who has lost a loved one would feel this way.
Yet, I need you to hear this. I am one of over 4,500 lifers in PA. Yes, almost 5000 men and women serving life in this State. A life sentence is a slow death sentence. Most people do not beleive this, but it really is the same thing as a death sentence. I have been incarcerated for 18 years (sentenced when I was 28, and now I'm 46 years old).
"Do you think I am the same person?"
Most people do not understand what serving a life sentence does to a person, simply because they have not walked in a lifer's shoes. Most people really do not know how this affects you, unless it actually happens to you, or happens to a loved one. I want you to understand one thing: "I am not trying to justify anything that I may have done, so please do not think that. I just would like to have a second chance.
The only existing opportunity for a lifer (in this state) to be released is by "Commutation" (a process where-by your case is reviewed by the Pardons Board & the Gov. then "signs" a release order. However, to date there have been only three lifers (men), who have been commuted in the past 16 years.
Now, I want to thank you for taking time to read this; To hear my words; and, to try and understand what I (and others) are experiencing in the State of Pennsylvania.
Paula Johnson #OC 5652
P.O. BOX 180
Muncy, PA. 17756