PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group rallied outside of the City-County Building Thursday morning. Their message: yes to commutation.
This group of advocates wants Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons to vote yes to the 22 inmates who will go before the board next week.
“These people have worked really hard,” said Etta Cetera, one of the Let’s Get Free rally organizers. “They deserve second chances, including our co-founder Avis Lee, who has been in prison over 40 years.”
The pardon board’s public hearings are now virtual because of the pandemic.
“We can’t do really do the court support that we want to do,” Cetera told KDKA’s Lisa Washington, “so we’re out here showing physical support for our friends coming before the board of pardons next week.”
Happening now: Members of @vivamarilynbuck want Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons to vote yes to 22 inmates coming before the board next week, so they can be released from prison. Hear their story at noon on @KDKA. pic.twitter.com/ifyykUBF6S
— Lisa Washington (@LisaWashing) August 27, 2020
The group rallied in front of the City County Building in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday morning, holding signs and chanting.
The group says inmate Avis Lee, who lived in Pittsburgh and was sentenced to life in prison for her part in a robbery when she was 18, is one example of the injustices of sentencing guidelines, especially among women.
Lee was a mentor to Ronna Davis-Moore, a Let’s Get Free board member.
“They’re grandmothers, they’re great grandmothers,” said Davis-Moore. “Usually people who have gotten convicted of life have gotten convicted in their early teen or early 20s. By 50 you’re definitely not the same person.”
All five pardon board members must vote yes for an inmate’s sentence to be commuted.