Shapiro under fire over insufficient commutations
Could this become an issue in the next campaign?
Dozens of people gathered Downtown on Tuesday to rally against the state attorney general’s voting record on prison sentence commutations, saying he denied too many petitions.
Many held signs and shouted chants such as “This is what democracy looks like” and “If the risk is low, let them go.”
Although the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons recommended more commutations last year than any year since 1995, rally organizers said that Attorney General Josh Shapiro, one of the board members, prevents too many sentence reliefs.
“I think people change, they deserve the right for a second chance,” Human Rights Coalition member and rally organizer Shandre Delaney said. “I just hope that we can persuade Shapiro of the same thing.”
Commutation, which reduces the punishment of a crime, is one of the only ways a prisoner may be eventually released from a sentence of serving life without parole. It requires a unanimous board vote, following a hearing, and final approval from the governor.
According to a report by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Mr. Shapiro voted no on 24 out of 41 cases in 2019, more than any other board member.
After witnessing Mr. Shapiro vote to shorten only three of 15 possible sentences at a hearing in December, Ms. Delaney said that she and others decided to make their voices heard.
Rumor has it that State Sen. Katie Muth may be gearing up to challenge Shapiro in the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary over his "inadequate" progressivism.