Humanity – HB138-FN

HB138-FN, allowing prisoners serving life sentences to be eligible for parole after 25 years, is currently before the New Hampshire House for an April 9 vote.

This bill is by no means a get-out-of-jail-free card. It merely provides an opportunity for select individuals to be heard, to plead their case before the N.H. Parole Board. Only those who have shown genuine remorse and willingness to make amends by whatever means possible, have a clean record, have fulfilled all rehabilitation programs required of them, have demonstrated themselves to have transformed their lives within prison, and have a concrete and practical plan for success on the outside, would have some chance of seeing release in the end. The punishment for a crime is the deprivation of liberty. To have individuals who are demonstrably changed languish for three, four and more decades does not make our community safer.

To quote a hero of mine, Bryan Stevenson, a noted attorney and justice advocate, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.”

Which of us would want to be known forever as “The Liar,” “The Thief,” “The Cheater,” to have the whole of our identity irrevocably tied to a moment’s indiscretion or lapse in judgement?

It is often easier to look the other way than to show mercy. But a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. I urge you to contact your New Hampshire state representative to voice support.

In the end, our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity.