Release from Prison

As an abolitionist organization that sprang from the self-liberatory efforts of incarcerated people who organized themselves and their loved ones outside, to fight for their own rights and freedom, winning release for people in prison — both in individual cases and as a result of strategies and policies of decarceration — is the founding core of our mission. We support the efforts of incarcerated people to rejoin and make positive and healthy contributions to their families and communities, who in turn are enriched by the presence of their formerly incarcerated loved ones.

We have a long history of litigating cases challenging unjust convictions and sentences, and of winning release for political and politicized prisoners and other people who’ve served decades behind bars. Many of those we’ve represented in successful efforts to win release were mentored by Russell Maroon Shoatz (ALC’s first client) and other political prisoners in the PA state system.

In the last few years we’ve also significantly scaled up our focus on so-called “compassionate release” cases that give a pathway out of prison and into more dignified and appropriate end-of-life care for terminally ill people who meet stringent guidelines. The demand for this representation is intense as the number of aging people in PA’s prisons has grown exponentially as a result of the state’s draconian long-term sentencing laws. Compassionate release cases are a highly specialized and labor intensive type of litigation, and we’re developing a network of other firms and entities with whom we’re sharing our expertise so that more people can be assisted.

In the video here, ALC client Bradford Gamble describes his experience with the compassionate release process, and ALC staff attorney Rupalee Rashatwar provides additional context about the excruciating conditions for aging and ill people in prison.

Expand the “Compassionate Release” section below to learn more.