Granting commutations started to diminish when Gov. Richard Thornburgh took office in 1979. It all but ceased in 1994, after lifer Reginald McFadden was released and went on a killing spree, the newspaper reported.
Today commutations have to be recommended unanimously by the state Board of Pardons before the governor can consider them.
One clemency went to George Trudel Jr., imprisoned for 30 years without the possibility of parole.
He told the newspaper, “I went away as a juvenile. I went away from my mother’s house, from being taken care of, to prison, where the state took care of me, I never paid a bill,
I didn’t know what it was to have that sort of responsibility. “It wasn’t until I got that job and started working, and I was able to go to the store and purchase things with my own money, that I truly felt like a man. I felt, for the first in a long time, that I was able to hold my head high. And that’s when I really started to believe that I belonged out here.” There are now more than 5,000 people serving life without the possibility of parole in Pennsylvania, according to the story.