Judging justice: The mechanics of criminal sentencing in PA

In 2019, Pennsylvania had more young people serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole than any other place in the world. Sentencing laws in Pennsylvania disproportionately impact people of color, working class and poor people, and can have especially devastating consequences for youth.

During a public hearing on January 1, 2022 in Harrisburg at 10:00 a.m., The House Democratic Policy Committee's Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People explored the current state of sentencing, the human consequences, and steps the state legislature could take to bring about change and needed services, while taking real steps to keep communities safe.

Host + Testifiers

  • Hosted by: Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, Chair of the Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Mike Zabel, D-Delaware, Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila.
  • Testimony From:
    • Mark Bergstrom, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing
    • Sara Jacobson, executive director of the Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania
    • Kevin Steele, Montgomery County district attorney and president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association
    • Maria Goellner, Pennsylvania State Policy Director, FAMM
    • Joanna Visser-Adjoian, co-founder and co-director, Youth Sentencing and Re-Entry Project
    • and Briannah Stoves, youth leader and impacted youth Care, Not Control Coalition.

Agenda + Testimony

Media Release + News Coverage

Hearing Video + Photos