Life in Suspension by Charles Z. Lawson

Life In PA by Charles Z. Lawson

Life Interupted by Charles Z. Lawson

AfJ supports and exhibits art by incarcerated individuals to promote dialogue on ways to:

 

• Promote public dialog on ways to prevent crime

 

• Reduce levels of incarceration

 

• Find effective, humane ways to improve the criminal justice system

Our Mission . . .

Edited excerpts of Charles Lawson’s statements and letter to

The Honorable Edward C. Wright.

 

Dear Judge Wright,

 

I write you with the hope that I might earn your reconsideration in connection to your intentions to dismiss the pleadings I have coming before you on 11-19-20. The fact that I now approach this matter from this posture, making a personal appeal, may seem unprecedented, but I have learned that you cannot address the atrocities or the effects of the systemic racism that plague my case "with formal proposals".

 

I am now 63 years old and have spent more than 37 years of my life in prison in connection to a crime I did not commit. I have formally addressed this grievous matter with in the courts for the past 30 years. The Court response has always been to turn a blind eye to my arguments. I only ask to be held accountable for the crime I did commit - and not for the conviction of a crime I did not commit.

 

This is my account of what occurred and has led to my wrongful sentence of life without parole.

 

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COVID-19 in PA Prisons

 

The proportion of incarcerated people and Corrections staff infected with COVID-19 continues to grow in the US – as reported by UCLA Covid-19 Behind the Bars Data Project.

 

In PA it is imperative to have on-going testing of Corrections staff! In PA those who are at risk of transmitting a contagious disease to others are required to get tested- if it applies to those who might transmit TB to others (as many of us are required to get yearly TB testing as an employment requirement) it certainly applies to COVID-19! Corrections staff are required to test for TB every year – they need to get tested for COVID-19 as a mandate – a requirement for employment.

 

The PA Department of Health (DOH) needs to step in and do their job and not abdicate responsibilities to the DOC! DOH is responsible for the health of all individuals who live in PA  - including the corrections population – those incarcerated, corrections staff, those in supervised housing! It is up to the DOH to make sure State Public Health Law is followed in all locations and settings. It is their mandate, by law!

 

In addition, DOH has oversight responsibilities to ensure prevention procedures are in place and are being followed – there are reports of Corrections staff non-compliance with masking. They should be working with the DOC to determine how to accomplish social distancing inside the walls – and if it cannot be done, develop transition plans and make recommendations to State Legislation and the Governor.

Art for Justice - Shows the humanity behind bars. Brings awareness to systemic flaws in the criminal justice system.  Seeks solutions to eliminate injustice.

* Artworks are either privately owned or have been donated to Art for Justice.

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