#BringThemHome for the Holidays! (This link goes to a google doc which contains the same information that's included below)
Call on the Governor to commute the sentences of people with Life Without Parole (LWOP)! Here’s how you can help:
Sign the Drop LWOP Coalition’s Open Letter to Governor Newsom
Click this link to sign our open letter: https://droplwop.com/letter-to-governor-newsom/
Write to Gov. Newsom
1: Go to the Governor’s contact form: Link
2: From the pulldown Menu choose the subject - Clemency: Commutation of Sentence
3: We’re in favor of commutations, so Click the “Pro” Bubble.
4: Write an email in your own words using these bullet points or use the sample letter below
Life Without Parole is not a more “humane” alternative to the death penalty. It is a slow death in a cage, accompanied by unimaginable hopelessness and despair.
People sentenced to LWOP are sent to prison for the rest of their lives, without a chance to demonstrate growth or change. Governor Newsom is the only person who can meaningfully recognize when people change and commute their sentence to Life With Parole so they can appear before the parole board.
Nearly 7 out of every 10 people sentenced to Life Without Parole in California are Black and Latinx. Just as the Governor’s recognized in his Executive Order on the death penalty, LWOP is “unevenly and unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities, and people who cannot afford costly legal representation”
Governors have used their clemency powers in times of crisis before. Governor Newsom should use every tool he has to reduce the overcrowding in prisons. This overcrowding has led to a Covid-19 death rate in prison many times higher than the average in CA.
Many people with Life Without Parole are elderly and medically vulnerable - the Governor should use his clemency power to commute their sentences because they are at risk of death or serious illness during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have already served decades in prison and statistically people over 55 are almost never convicted of another crime.
Many people with Life Without Parole sentences have already submitted lengthy applications explaining how they have grown and changed after decades in prison. They have explained their plan for establishing a new life in their community with loved ones at their side, and how they can safely quarantine once released.
Over 6 out of 10 of people sentenced in CA were 25 years or younger at the time of their offense. Experts recognize that young brains are not fully mature and people under 25 frequently make poor decisions - young people shouldn’t be sentenced to die in prison with absolutely no avenue to receive parole.
I’m writing to demand the Governor review and commute the sentences of people with Life Without Parole (LWOP).
He is the only person who can change an LWOP sentence to a sentence that will allow a person to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings. During this pandemic, he should use all means, including his clemency power, to reduce the crowded conditions in California prisons. The death rate of people in prison is many times that outside of prison precisely because so many people are incarcerated and distancing is impossible.
The Life Without Parole sentence is truly a prolonged and horrible death sentence, and just as the Governor’s recognized in his Executive Order on the death penalty, LWOP is “unevenly and unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities, and people who cannot afford costly legal representation”. Nearly 7 out of every 10 people sentenced to Life Without Parole in California are Black and Latinx. Just as the Governor has recognized the unjust nature of the death penalty, he should recognize and address the unequal impact of LWOP and do what he can right now to prevent people from dying while in prison. He should use every method he can to speed the release of incarcerated elderly who are at high risk of death if they contract Covid-19. For the elderly with a Life Without Parole sentence, he is the only person who can commute their sentences so they can have a chance at parole.
In times of crisis, commutation is a power that has been used to prevent catastrophe and to correct unjust sentences. I urge the Governor to make use of it now.
__________________(add your name)
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This holiday season, the #DropLWOP coalition is calling on Governor Newsom to reunite families across California by granting a HISTORIC number of commutations for people serving Life Without Parole sentences. Join us at www.droplwop.com.
Commutation is meant to be the final opportunity for redress of unfair trials, extreme excessive sentences, and inequities that result from racism and other forms of systemic injustice.
For decades, California Governors have FAILED to execute this important responsibility of their office in the way it was intended. From 1975 to 1982, then-Governor Jerry Brown granted ONE commutation. However, during his most recent term, Brown commuted the sentences of 283 people in California state prisons, far more than any California governor since at least the 1940s. Fifty-two percent of people commuted by Brown were serving LWOP sentences, including 30 women. This should be the model that @gavinnewsom follows.
Sadly, this is a RECORD number of commutations for California. As many as 5,200 people are currently serving the racist, arbitrary, and inhumane sentence of LWOP, including about 200 women, more than any other state in the nation. We are fighting to free them all.
Commutations remain one of the only levers of release for people serving LWOP. Visit www.droplwop.com to sign our letter to Governor Newsom urging him to commute the sentences of all people serving Life Without Parole (LWOP) in California’s prisons to parole-eligible sentences.
We must fight to #BringThemHome for the Holidays! (Follow @drop_lwop on IG to learn more)