To all who will vote on SB114:
I adamantly urge you to pass this bill. The fact that many delinquent juveniles commit a heinous crime and are incarcerated for all of their lives should not be a given. This is appropriate if the inmate shows no remorse nor reforms his behavior. However, there are many that have remorse and do all that is possible to reconcile and amend for their crime.
I have a friend who is exactly that kind of person. He committed his crime at 18 and he repented of it almost immediately. He wrote letters to the Anchorage newspaper expressing his remorse. He had a reconciliation meeting with 2 of the daughters of his victims. One of the daughters became a strong support for him including visits and financial support.
This all came about because this man found faith and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Despite whether that means anything to you, it is the power of God that has changed this man and this man knows he owes it all to God and his Savior Jesus Christ. That has motivated him to take all opportunities while incarcerated to improve himself.
Yet a very sad thing happened when after 33 years in prison, he finally became eligible for parole. His parole hearing was a travesty and was NOT a parole hearing. No discussion of his character in prison over those 33 years was permitted. Rather, he was retried and proclaimed guilty all because the public wanted vengeance.
The goal of a prison system should be to reform the prisoner to someday be a productive member of society. I do believe this can happen. However if that effort by the inmate offers NO hope of parole, why should they even make the effort.
If other inmates would see that character development and good deeds do indeed result in freedom some day, what a motivation that could be. However as it stands the parole hearings have allowed very few to be granted parole and hence morale is abysmal. It is particularly painful for those who did their crime when they were yet a minor. Why condemn the entire life of a young person if he does indeed seek remorse and rehabilitation?
Please pass SB 114! It is a just and needed law.
Nancy J Osborne