May 2024 Newsletter

Last week, we shared that we won compassionate release for ALC clients Ezra Bozeman and Robert Jones. Sadly, both gentlemen are no longer with us.

Ezra Bozeman was able to spend his last 12 days outside prison walls surrounded with love, before he passed away on June 1, with his wonderful fiancee Christine by his side. Mr. Bozeman was arrested at age 19, convicted of second-degree murder by an all-white jury, and sentenced to death by incarceration for a crime he steadfastly maintained he did not commit. Mr. Bozeman refused to allow his unjust circumstances break him down, and during his near half-a-century of incarceration, he mentored countless others, and earned the utmost respect of people who live and work both inside and outside the carceral system. In addition to Christine, Mr. Bozeman leaves behind an abundant community of people who love and cherish him.

Rob Jones passed away peacefully in a hospice unit surrounded by loved ones. Mr. Jones was sentenced to death by incarceration in 1976 and spent 49 years in prison where he was a pillar in the resistance movement for which he spent 20 years in solitary confinement. In April of 2024, with the legal representation of the Abolitionist Law Center, he was granted compassionate release. Mr. Jones returned to the community for the last 39 days of his life and leaves behind a large number of people who respect and admire him.

In their memory, and for the thousands of elders in Pennsylvania prisons, we affirm our commitment to fighting for their dignity. In life and in death. After seeing news reports of Mr. Bozeman’s passing, we challenged the use of outdated, dehumanizing language in the headline on behalf of him and others. READ our letter to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Every day, we are committed to fighting to ensure the inherent worth and dignity of our people locked inside cages, be it prisons or jails. Sometimes, that takes the form of working to end death by incarceration; other times, it’s fighting for the release of elders who need care and deserve dignity.

Over the past month, we have won compassionate release for three clients. Since 2021, when we won the release of political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, we have won compassionate release for 18 clients who were freed to return to their families and communities. Many of those wins were bittersweet, but all are important both for our clients and their families as we challenge the horrors and inhumanity inherent in jails and prisons. Building public awareness to mobilize organizing efforts is critical to winning freedom for our loved ones inside and bringing about substantive change. Learn more about ALC’s ongoing efforts to free our people.

Read the full newsletter here.