To successfully use Pennsylvania’s ‘compassionate release’ law, he had to choose to die

The Philadelphia Inquirer, 04/21/22: A late-stage cancer diagnosis left Bradford Gamble with a difficult decision: Receive treatment in a Pennsylvania state prison or die on the outside.

If Bradford Gamble wanted to leave state prison, he had to decide to die.

He found out about his late-stage cancer diagnosis unceremoniously: A guard dropped a piece of paper into his cell without a word. After months of pain, confusion, and waiting, he had answers: metastatic colon cancer that had already spread to his liver.

Gamble spent his entire adult life inside the walls of Pennsylvania state prisons. He was sentenced in 1976 for a murder he committed when he was 19, an action he’s come to deeply regret.

His cancer diagnosis at age 65 gave him an opportunity to use a little-known Pennsylvania law that allows terminally ill people to leave prison, but only if they have less than a year to live. For people serving life, it’s one of the only ways out.

So Gamble had a decision to make: Get treatment to prolong his life and stay in prison, or come home for good and die.

Read the full story here.