In the past months Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf has made many public statements criticizing the Pennsylvania (PA) Parole Board and calling for much needed reform in how the parole process is carried out by the board. It is rare for a newly sworn Governor in any state to call for reform measures in the parole process. Is Governor Wolf just speaking liberal talk? Or is he ready to take true action by correcting the wrongs that keep men and women in prison past their minimum sentences?
There have been many cases in which men and women throughout Pennsylvania have been denied by the parole board 5, 6, 7–as many as ten times–still not able to come home to their families and communities. In 2008 Edward Goodman Africa and seven other men and women known collectively as the Move 9 became parole eligible after serving 30 years of their minimum sentence of 30 to 100 years. Since 2008 to as recent as June 2015, all of the Move 9 have been denied parole under very clear bias at the hands of the PA Parole Board.
Our Brother Eddie’s parole hearing was scheduled for October 2015 but for some reason was pushed to November 2015. We are very concerned due to the fact that Eddie, like the rest of our Move family, has not had a one fair parole hearing since 2008 nor does the parole board intend to give Eddie and the rest of the Move 9 a fair parole hearing. Since Governor Wolf wants to make calls for reform in the Pennsylvania Parole system we are going to now encourage him to turn his words to into actions for Eddie Africa.
This Monday we are asking people interested in justice to contact Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf via phone call (717) 787-2500 or email: Governor@pa.gov and demand immediate parole for Edward Goodman Africa, #AM4974. When emailing or calling Governor Wolf these are key points:
- Upon Parole Edward Africa has employment and housing secured.
- Edward has an excellent prison conduct record in which he has kept down racial and gang violence for the 37 years he has been in prison and has not had a write up in 16 years now.
- Parole Board member Leslie Gray, a former law enforcement official with strong ties to current law enforcement, creates a clear conflict of interest sitting over this hearing; it has been shown over past hearings that having past law enforcement officials sitting over these hearings, example Lloyd White and Randy Feathers.
- Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has given negative reviews for parole for Edward despite having nothing to do with the prosecution of Edward and the Move 9 in 1980 as Seth Williams was only 14 years old when they were prosecuted.
Let’s put the pressure on Governor Wolf this Monday to push his words for reform in seeing that Edward Goodman Africa is finally granted parole seven years after reaching his minimum sentence. Also we are urging people to sign the petition we have aimed at The United States Justice Department In The Case Of The Move 9. People can sign at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.