Kosierowski introduces legislation for domestic violence victims

HARRISBURG, Nov. 22 – Survivors of domestic violence who were coerced into criminal activity by their abusers would be provided alternative sentences under new legislation (H.B. 2047) introduced by state Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna.

“There is no reason to lock up domestic violence survivors who have already suffered so much at the hands of their abusers,” Kosierowski said. “This legislation would help break the cycle of continued victimization these survivors endure after receiving long prison sentences.”

Under H.B. 2047, individuals who were survivors of domestic violence at the time of an offense would have their history of domestic violence taken into account during sentencing and be provided shorter or alternative sentences. Those individuals would need to show that violence was a significant contributing factor.

Kosierowski said people convicted of first-degree or aggravated murder, sex offenses or acts of terrorism would be excluded. Those who are currently incarcerated and were sentenced prior to the enactment of the legislation would be eligible for resentencing if they meet the criteria.

“Incarcerating individuals who have committed crimes without taking their victimization into account is unethical, inhumane and perpetuates victim blaming,” Kosierowski said. 

House Bill 2047 is awaiting action in the House Judiciary Committee.