Media Release: Janet and Janine Africa are paroled after forty years of incarceration!!!

The Abolitionist Law Center and the People’s Law Office are proud to share that Janet Holloway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa of the MOVE 9 have been released from state custody after more than forty years of incarceration. Earlier this morning, the MOVE sisters were finally released on parole from SCI Cambridge Springs and are now with family and friends. The sisters have been battling for their freedom after being consistently denied parole for a decade despite an impeccable disciplinary record and extensive record of mentorship and community service during their time in prison.

Following their 2018 parole denial, attorneys from Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office filed petitions for habeas corpus seeking their release from prison. The habeas petitions challenged their parole denials on the grounds that the decisions were arbitrary and lacking in any evidence that janet or Janine presented a risk to public safety. Under pressure from litigation and with a court date for May 28 looming, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (board) granted Janet and Janine parole on May 14, 2019, just one day after the anniversary of the notorious May 13, 1985 bombing of the MOVE home.

“The release of Janet and Janine is a victory not only for them and their loved ones, but also for the MOVE Organization and the movement to free all political prisoners,” said attorney Brad Thomson of People’s Law Office. “Janet and Janine were excellent candidates for parole. They have been described by DOC staff as model prisoners and neither of them has had a single disciplinary incident in over twenty years. While in prison, they have participated in community fundraisers, and social programs, including training service dogs. They are remarkable women to deserve to be free.”

Like Debbie and Mike Africa, who were released last year, Janet and Janine are now able to experience holding their loved ones outside of prison walls for the first time in decades. The release of Janet and Janine after forty years is the culmination of the MOVE organization, public support, legal action, and policy changes.

Three other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated (Chuck, Delbert and Eddie Africa), while two others (Merle Africa and Phil Africa) died in custody. Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office represent Chuck, Delbert and Eddie in the struggle for their freedom. To support the fight, you may donate to the MOVE9 Legal Fund.

Press Contact:

Mike Africa Jr.,MikeAfricaJr [at]

Brad Thomson bradjaythomson[at] 773-297-9689


Action Alert: Support the MOVE 9 Legal Fund!!!!

Help the Fight to Free MOVE Members
Who Have Been Wrongfully Incarcerated for 40 Years 

Please contribute to the MOVE 9 legal fund to continue the efforts to free all MOVE political prisoners. On June 16, 2018, Debbie Africa became the first member of the MOVE 9 to be released from prison when she was granted parole after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration. Mike Africa, Debbie’s husband, became the next member of the MOVE 9 to get out of prison, when he was released on parole on October 23, 2018.

Lawyers from the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and People’s Law Office (PLO) represented both Debbie and Mike in their successful parole petitions and are committed to fighting for the release of the remaining MOVE 9.

There is a need for funds to support parole review and litigation, such as expert witnesses, travel for court dates and client visits, copy costs of prison and court records, postage and shipping, fees for court filings and other expenses that are likely to arise. (The attorneys are representing the MOVE 9 pro bono and this fund will only go to pay for out-of-pocket expenses.)

The MOVE members who are still in prison are all entitled to release on parole given their exemplary prison record, examples of mentorship, and the complete lack of any risk they present to public safety.

But it will take a fight to get them out – please contribute today* and help them win that fight.

Who are the MOVE 9?

The MOVE 9 are innocent men and women who have been unjustly imprisoned since August 8, 1978, following a massive police attack on their home in the Powelton Village neighborhood of Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed during the attack. Despite forensic evidence that the bullet that killed him did not come from inside the MOVE house, 9 MOVE members were convicted of 3rd Degree Murder and sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. This was seven years before the government dropped a bomb on MOVE in 1985, killing 11 people, including 5 children.

Two of the MOVE 9, Merle and Phil Africa, have died in DOC custody. There are now five surviving members of the MOVE 9 who are still in prison: Janet, Janine, Chuck, Eddie and Delbert.


Background on Fight to Free Janet and Janine Africa:

In May of 2018, MOVE members Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa went before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. Attorneys from ALC and PLO prepared packets in support of each of the three women. Debbie Africa was granted parole and released from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs on June 16, after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration. Janet and Janine Africa, however, were denied parole despite having virtually identical Department of Corrections records as Debbie.

Jane and Janine both:

  • Have gone more than 20 years without a misconduct for any rule violation
  • Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
  • Were recommended for parole by former PA DOC Secretary Martin Horn
  • Were recommended for parole by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

These factors demonstrate that Janet and Janine pose no threat to public safety and deserve parole.

The Parole Board has denied them the opportunity to return home based on unlawful factors. Claiming the two minimized the offense and did not express remorse, the Board ignored the only relevant assessment under Pennsylvania law: that the two do not present a threat to public safety.

The Parole Board also lied, claiming that Janet and Janine received the negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney, when in truth Philadelphia’s District Attorney, Larry Krasner, recommended all three women – Debbie, Janet, and Janine – for parole. In a letter to parole to the Parole Board, Krasner’s office stated that it “was “confident” that Janet and Janine “will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community” and that their “continued incarceration does not make our city safer.”

Janet and Janine’s lawyers have challenged this unlawful determination, filing petitions for habeas corpus in federal court on October 1, 2018. The petitions argue that the Parole Board violated the constitutional rights of Janet and Janine by arbitrarily denying them parole without any rational basis.

The legal team at ALC and PLO is committed to freeing all MOVE political prisoners. This work includes challenging the erroneous denials for Janet and Janine and preparing packets for upcoming parole hearings – the next of which is Charles (Chuck) Africa, who will be going before the parole board in December of 2018, followed by Edward (Eddie) Africa in January of 2019. In addition, the lawyers are exploring all legal avenues that could potentially obtain release for the five surviving members of the MOVE 9.

Support Today!!!


*Please make sure you designate MOVE in the specific case or project section*

MEDIA RELEASE: MOVE 9 Member Mike Africa Released on Parole After 40 Years in Prison

October 23, 2018

Earlier today, MOVE member Mike Africa was released from prison after 40 years of incarceration. Mike was released on parole from SCI Phoenix in Skippak Township this morning.

Mike was imprisoned since August 8, 1978, following an altercation between the Philadelphia police and the MOVE Organization. Mike is one of 9 MOVE members, collectively known as the “MOVE 9,” who were convicted and sentenced to 30-100 years in prison following the altercation.

Mike’s wife Debbie Africa was also one of the MOVE 9. Debbie was eight months pregnant at the time of the incident and gave birth in jail to their son, Mike Africa Jr. Mike Sr. has been incarcerated for his son’s entire life and today was the first opportunity for the father and son to spend time together outside of prison.

Mike Sr. and his wife Debbie maintained their relationship despite both being in incarcerated and separated from one other for 40 years. In June of this year, Debbie became the first member of the MOVE 9 to be released from prison. Today marks the first time that Mike Sr., Debbie and their son Mike Jr. have ever spent time all together.


“After being born in jail and never being with my parents, I’m happy to be with my mom and dad at home for the first time ever in forty years,” said Mike Africa, Jr. He continued “But this struggle isn’t over. There are still MOVE members behind bars who deserve to be reunited with their families and loved ones, just like my mom and dad can now be with me and the rest of their family.”


Mike Sr. has been eligible for parole since 2008 and went before the Pennsylvania Board or Probation and Parole (PBPP) for the tenth time in September of this year. Mike’s legal team submitted a packet in support of his parole petition, detailing Mike’s exemplary prison record, his educational accomplishments in prison and over 75 letters in support of parole. These included letters from religious leaders, retired DOC staff who knew him personally and former prisoners who described the positive influence Mike had on them. Mike also received recommendations for parole from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), Corrections expert and former DOC Secretary Martin Horn, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.


One of Mike’s lawyers, Brad Thomson, of the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, said, “Mike’s record in prison was exceptional and demonstrated that he was an excellent candidate for parole. With this decision, the Parole Board recognizes that Mike, like Debbie, and the rest of the MOVE 9, poses absolutely no threat to the community.” Thomson went on to say, “This victory would not have been possible without the decades of organizing and advocacy spearheaded by the MOVE organization and their supporters.”


Bret Grote, of Abolitionist Law Center, another lawyer for the MOVE 9, stated, “This historic release of Mike Africa renders the Parole Board’s decision to deny the rest of the MOVE 9 all the more incomprehensible. For example, Janet and Janine Africa have both maintained DOC records that are as exemplary as Mike’s and essentially identical to that of Debbie, yet they were inexplicably denied parole this past May.” Grote and Thomson recently filed petitions for habeas corpus on behalf of Janet and Janine in federal court, challenging their parole denials.


In addition to Janet and Janine, three other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated, as two (Merle Africa and Phil Africa) died in custody. All five surviving members of the MOVE 9 (Janet, Janine, Chuck, Eddie and Delbert Africa) have been eligible for parole since 2008 and have been repeatedly denied parole when appearing before the PBPP.


During the August 8, 1978 altercation, a Philadelphia police officer was killed and following a highly politicized and controversial trial, the MOVE 9 were convicted of third-degree homicide. All nine were sentenced to 30-100 years in prison.


Brad Thomson, bradjaythomson[at] ,773-297-9689

Mike Africa Jr.,,