As the result of the recent Supreme Court decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana
, approximately 2,500 people serving sentences of life without the possibility of parole imposed when they were children are now entitled to be resentenced. These individuals have been incarcerated for their entire adult lives. For the first time, they will have the opportunity to provide information about their personal circumstances and experiences, which could be reasons for lesser sentences.
But while the ruling gives them a chance for a change in sentencing, there is no guarantee. Defense teams now need the expertise of qualified mitigation specialists to develop persuasive life history evidence for the court’s consideration, and in some places, the system is overwhelmed. The state of Pennsylvania alone faces the need to conduct nearly 500
resentencing hearings. For many of the most vulnerable individuals affected, there is a very real possibility that, despite the Supreme Court ruling, their circumstances will not change without the assistance of qualified mitigation specialists to aid these teams.
Responding to evolving circumstances such as this one is at the core of ARC, Inc.'s mission. This weekend, our team will partner with the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project to coordinate a two-day workshop in Philadelphia for those new to the field of life history investigation. This training was made possible by the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Proteus Fund, which generously provided support for workshop logistics.
This weekend’s training will give participants the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and best practices of mitigation work. It is knowledge that will be critical to their ability to serve their clients, and ARC, Inc. is uniquely positioned to provide such in-depth training.
ARC, Inc. invests significant staff time in providing this type of programming – coordinating and presenting at events throughout the country, developing workshop materials, and providing one-on-one guidance to past workshop participants. We do this because we know how vital it is and we want to do even more
. However, the time we dedicate to initiatives like this is on a pro bono basis, which limits our capacity to offer as many training opportunities as we know are needed.
Your support can help to provide access to high-quality training where it is most needed. Please visit our website to donate online
or learn more about how to support this critical work.