Grassroots Strategies to End Life Imprisonment: California and New York
Working to abolish life prison terms will take a shift in public will. State groups in California and New York are anchoring grassroots efforts to limit extreme sentences in support of scaling back mass incarceration.
Last summer, over 100 people in California rallied at the capitol in support of ending life without parole as a sentencing option. The Drop LWOP campaign organized by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners garnered support from formerly incarcerated persons and family members. The advocacy day involved lobby visits and actions targeted to the governor. The campaign has continued grassroots engagement through Drop LWOP town halls and other activities.
Earlier this year, the Release Aging People from Prison Campaign and the Parole Preparation Project, organized a Parole Justice Advocacy Day in support of legislative priorities to allow parole for all people aged 55 and older who have served 15 consecutive years in prison. Close to 100 supporters participated. Activists demonstrated support for a presumption of release for all parole applicants. Advocacy activities included a rally, lobby visits, and coordinating hearing testimony. In recent weeks other organizers held direct actions including a parole justice rally at the governor’s mansion with plans for a second advocacy day next month.