The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to advance HB 1381 today, which YSRP hopes will usher in a more humane era of support and care for youth involved in the criminal legal system.
John Pace, YSRP’s JLWOP Reentry Coordinator, was featured at length alongside former juvenile lifers in a November 16, 2018 article in The Nation. The article’s author, Katie Rose Quandt, came to Philadelphia to understand the context of a city that has sentenced more children to spend their lives in prison than any other on the planet. She profiles Mr. Pace’s work with Life After Life, a group of former juvenile lifers who have been meeting for the past year to provide mutual support to one another as former juvenile lifers return home, build collective leadership, and advocate for changes to the extreme sentencing laws that sent them away for the rest of their lives as children.
In understanding how Mr. Pace and others preparing for their homecoming have been treated, she quotes Mr. Pace:
In Pennsylvania, “a lot of the prisons looked at you as a throwaway,” said Pace. “Like, ‘Why should we invest in you when you’re going spend the rest of your life in prison?’ So now you have these individuals that are beginning to come out, and they have limited skills and they have limited relationships. How do we help them to transition?”
More than a year and half since his homecoming, Mr. Pace convenes regularly with other former juvenile lifer leaders: Abdul Lateef, Sharif Boyd, Frank Lee and others, working to put in place the types of supports and structures that individuals need when they return home from decades of incarceration. YSRP is proud to support Mr. Pace in his role, and to know that he and the membership of Life After Life is being recognized for both the experience and expertise they bring to the reentry community, and to the city of Philadelphia.