Over 100 inmates at Mercer’s State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania are up for parole this year.
Wednesday they got a preview of the process from the man that decides their fate. We got a look at Mercer SCI’s very first interaction between parole members and inmates.
Freedom; It’s something some prison inmates wait decades for.
“As long as you behave and get to that point, you’re free to go,” said Leo Dunn, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
This year he’s visiting every state prison speaking about the parole process, and what parole members are looking for.
“The big thing is, taking some of the mystery out of parole, we’re trying to be transparent as much as we can,” Dunn said.
The talk lasted two hours covering everything from the interview.
At times conversations can turn heated. But Dunn says even that is encouraging.
“Even the young man that wanted to argue with me the most today was right there, listening and at my shoulder,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s still in the process of meeting with inmates in each state prison. But some of those inmates have already had their parole interviews and he’s seen a difference.
“I know that a lot of their interviews went better,” he said.
This is the first year parole members have spoken to inmates about the process.
Dunn says while the prison system has many flaws, this is a step in the right direction.