Amendments to the compassionate release provisions of the federal First Step Act and Second Chance Acts provide some opportunity for release for elderly and infirm federal inmates. This article examines the reentry successes of three Pennsylvania state inmates, all convicted of homicide, who won their release as re-sentenced juvenile lifers or through commutation. The author came to know them through a reentry group affiliated with a Pittsburgh university. Their success and scholarship about the low recidivism rates for violent offenders over the age fifty suggest that the criminal justice system should abolish the imposition of life sentences. More than avoid recidivism, each of these returning citizens has made positive contributions to their communities, both in and out of prison. They are working, obtaining educations, engaging in charitable work and political advocacy, and writing about their experiences. Their example and their description of many similarly-situated older inmates still in prison teach that society should not rest the argument for their release solely on compassion and pity. Rather, older inmates have learned coping skills that can help restore the communities that their crimes harmed and that they were taken from during their incarceration. For these reasons, the author suggests that prison sentences generally should provide for release after an inmate serves twenty-five years and attains the age of fifty.

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