The Pittsburgh Foundation

Small and Mighty: Fight for Lifers West

Fight for Lifers

Twenty percent of all juveniles in the United States in prison for life without parole are incarcerated in Pennsylvania. In 2012, a group of mothers of juveniles serving life sentences formed Fight for Lifers West to create public support for changes to Pennsylvania laws and to engage the state legislature in reform. Fight for Lifers is one of 18 recipients of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Small and Mighty grants, part of the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle. Small and Mighty grants are awarded to organizations with operating budgets of less than $600,000. Through their fiscal sponsor, Thomas Merton Center, Fight for Lifers operates with a budget of $268,947.

This $9,000 grant will support a two-day workshop by an attorney and Fight for Lifers volunteers at the State Correction Institution Forest in Marienville, Pa., where they will educate 100 inmates about getting their life sentences reduced, and two-subsequent volunteer days at the facility. They will also facilitate a panel discussion for the public and state legislators about the prevalence and impact of the inmate abuse in jails and prisons and will conduct a study of Pittsburgh Public Schools' discipline policies, perceptions and alternatives to the School to Prison Pipeline.

Learn more about Fight for Lifers at

Read about the Small and Mighty initiative