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Fighting for a Second Chance

The Southeast Prison Advocate is a group of people working to advance the causes of incarcerated men and women who have long sentences and have shown significant change in their lives. It is our prayer that no one is released, from prison,  until they are ready to be a productive citizen, in their respected communities. We believe those who will be released have a responsibility to represent the men and women who are still behind the fences. Extensive research, has been conducted, amongst various states that proves Second Look Legislation as something that is on the horizon. It is our civic duty to petition our legislators and politicians to make changes, to the law, that will benefit our communities and make the best use of their tax dollars.

              Just this morning, I read an article about law enforcement, in South Carolina, saying: enough is enough (pertaining to the crimes committed in your communities). Has this not been the same cry of the whole country against the systemic problems that plague our criminal justice system? According to Einstein,”Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity”. Governor McMaster, epitomizes the person Einstein was referring to with his political war cry of “No bond, no early release, no parole” for those serving long sentences. Period! This is a root problem that creates  overcrowding and volatile circumstances inside prison systems. Maybe, it is time to rethink our approach to crime and punishment. Clearly, up to this point, the tough on crime agenda has never deterred the crime rate.

It is our goal to develop a plan and offer solutions to these problems with research and facts. As we gather data, we will be strategizing to create logical solutions based on the evidence we discover. There are currently other states adopting Second Look Legislation and employing Prosecutor Initiated Resentencing. Second Look legislation is the creation of laws that will allow the courts to reevaluate the sentences that have been handed out after a certain number of years, typically 10-15 years. Prosecutor Initiated Resentencing is a tool for prosecutors to use to evaluate the validity of incarcerated men and women’s petition to be resentenced or possibly released.

In a conference held by the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice section, Hillary Blout shares ways that California has benefited from these new ideas in its criminal justice system. They found out, there are many people that could be safely released back into society because they had aged out of crime or changed their lives significantly. After releasing these men and women they found these individuals were actually  a benefit to their communities. Illinois, Louisiana, Washington, Oregon, and California are the 5 states that have already enacted Second Look Legislation.

In Washington DC, they have implemented second look legislation that was originally for juvenile offenders. They have now amended this legislation to include those who committed crimes when they were 25 or younger.

“When the Second Look Amendment Act was passed at the very end of 2020, only eighteen offenders had been released under IRAA, its predecessor. Of those eighteen, none have reoffended.” Madison Howard states in an article about this new legislation.

This is promising information, but it has only been passed as law in 1 of the states in our region. We have the information and the evidence of its effectiveness in action. It is on us to put in the work to get these laws into effect in our region. If you or your loved one would be affected by these laws and you would like to join our fight to get these laws passed, please subscribe and send us a message. You can also fill out this form, to help us better understand your needs.

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