'Second Looks, Second Chances': Collaborating with Lifers on a Video about Commutation of LWOP Sentences

University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Forthcoming

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 18-33

34 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2018

See all articles by Regina Austin

Regina Austin

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: October 11, 2018

Abstract

In Pennsylvania, life means life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) or “death by incarceration.” Although executive commutation offers long serving rehabilitated lifers hope of release, in the past 20 years, only 8 commutations have been granted by the state’s governors. This article describes the collaboration between an organization of incarcerated persons serving LWOP and the law-school-based Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law that produced a video supporting increased commutations for Pennsylvania lifers. The article details the methodology of collaborative videomaking employed, the strategic decisions over content that were impacted by the politics of commutation, and the contributions of visual criminology to the video’s portrayal of the lifers who participated in the project.

Keywords: Criminal justice policy, sentencing, commutation power, Pennsylvania, documentary filmmaking, visual legal advocacy, visual criminology, legal & visual ethics, Lifers Inc., SCI Graterford

Suggested Citation

Austin, Regina, 'Second Looks, Second Chances': Collaborating with Lifers on a Video about Commutation of LWOP Sentences (October 11, 2018). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Forthcoming; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 18-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3267399

Regina Austin (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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