Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania - Client Profiles

Marsha Scaggs

Marsha Scaggs is 56 years old and is currently imprisoned at the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs in Pennsylvania. Marsha is serving a Death By Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder. Marsha was prosecuted after an altercation with the victim in her case resulted in her co-defendant killing the victim; she was not responsible for the killing nor did she have any intention for that to happen. She was 23 years old at the time. Marsha has been incarcerated since 1987 and has spent over 30 years—more than half of her life—in prison. She is a plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

When asked what she wants the outside world to know about people serving life sentences, she said, "We are human beings who have made mistakes but we are not defined by those mistakes. There are lifers that have taken the necessary steps to redeem ourselves and if given the opportunity, we will rise to the occasion and be role models."

Marsha wants to be released from prison. She wants the chance to use the certification and degree that she worked so hard to get while incarcerated. During her incarceration, she has lost loved ones on the outside. She wants to be free to be able to spend time with friends and family outside of the prison walls. Marsha says she also wants the chance to do things that many people on the outside take for granted. She wants to get a job, pay bills, and do her taxes.

Marsha says that aging in prison is, "no picnic...you do not get the proper medical attention that is needed, and the more you age, you can see and feel your body deteriorate. It's like a loss of life emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually."

Marie Scott

Marie Scott is 67 years old and is currently confined at State Correctional Institution at Muncy in Pennsylvania. Marie is serving a Death By Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder. Marie has been incarcerated for 47 years—more than two-thirds of her life—for a crime that occurred when she was just 19. She was prosecuted for her role in a robbery of a gas station during which her co-defendant killed the station attendant. She was not responsible for the killing nor did she have any intention for that to happen. Marie is the lead plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

Marie wants people on the outside to know how different serving a life sentence is now compared when she was first incarcerated. "When I came to Muncy to serve out my life sentence, there were only six of us serving life sentences. Today, almost half a century later, two of the six have died. The four of us remaining are close to if not already in our 70s, and all we seem to be doing is waiting around to finish our punishment of life without parole by dying, despite the fact that we do not pose any threat."

Marie does not just want to ensure her own release from prison, but the release of many women who are currently serving life sentences. When asked why she wants to be released she said, "We are human beings who made terrible choices when we were very young. Some of our brains weren't fully developed either. For those of us who have served almost 50 years, this doesn't have to be the story of lifers in Pennsylvania." If released from prison, Marie would like to teach a program that she has developed on codependency. The program is geared towards women. Marie has a daughter and grandchildren that she has never been able to see outside of the walls of prison.

Marie says that it is a very scary thing to age in prison. "You see those old and sick not receiving the proper medical treatment throughout decades of imprisonment. And then they die, leaving you in fear of the same suffering. Having outside support can sometimes mean the difference between life and death."

Marie has spent more than two-thirds of her life incarcerated. She has grown old, and watched others die in prison. Her continued detention is cruel and senseless; she should be released, but she is not eligible for parole because of her felony murder conviction.

Normita Jackson

Normita Jackson is 43 years old and is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs in Pennsylvania. Normita is serving a Death By Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder. Normita was prosecuted for participating in a robbery in which her co-defendant committed a homicide, killing the victim. She was not responsible for the killing nor had she had any intention for that to happen. She was 19 years old at the time, and has been incarcerated since 1997. She is a plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

Normita wants people on the outside to know, "That just because we were sentenced to life without parole does not mean that we are bad people. Like myself, there are people incarcerated who were not the actual shooter or we were protecting our boyfriend. We are people seeking a second chance at a normal life."

She wants to be released from prison because she wants to redeem herself to society. "I am a grown woman now. I was a kid in 1997, and I would not live such a life ever again. I want to speak with the youth of today who are walking down the same road I did. I could not save myself then, but I would like to save the kids of today."

Normita says it is hard to age in prison. The hardest part is missing all of the good years in your life. "You miss your children growing up, you lose family and friends, and you may not get proper medical care."

Normita has spent more than half of her life incarcerated. She has been rehabilitated and has worked towards becoming a better person in every way possible. She has also assisted many people who will be eligible for parole to prepare for their eventual release. Despite all of this, Normita is not parole eligible because of her felony murder conviction.

Tyreem Rivers

Tyreem Rivers is 42 years old and is currently imprisoned at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas in Pennsylvania. Tyreem is serving a Death By Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder When he was 18 years old, Tyreem committed a robbery by grabbing the purse of an elderly woman who fell as a result. She was then hospitalized and died two weeks later from pneumonia she contracted while in the hospital. Tyreem has been incarcerated since 1996. He is a plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

Tyreem wants people on the outside to know that, "Many of us bear a great sense of remorse for the roles we've played in having such a negative impact on the lives of the people we've wrongfully victimized, their families, and the communities in which the crimes occurred. I can honestly say we no longer think or act as we once did before having been sentenced to life without parole."

The main reason that Tyreem wants to be released from prison is because he wants a second chance to be a free and productive member of society. "I've taken many rehabilitative steps towards bettering myself within the 24 years of my incarceration. I believe that my reentry will not only serve as a productive opportunity for myself, but will also serve as a productive opportunity for the troubled youth."

Tyreem says that aging in prison has been a very harsh experience. When he was first arrested, his oldest sister was six years old; now she is 30 years old with two children. "Although I know with each new day passing that I'm aging and my health is seemingly decreasing, it's usually when I hear about my friends' kids now turning 18, and hearing about all the deaths of the elders in my family, when I'm reminded that I'm getting old."

Tyreem has been incarcerated for 24 years. Tyreem feels that he has changed, developed, and evolved. He intends to be a contributing member of society and a role model for troubled youth. Despite all of this, Tyreem is not eligible for parole because of his felony murder conviction.

Reid Evans

Reid Evans is 59 years old and is currently imprisoned at the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Reid is serving a Death By Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder. When Reid was 19 years old, he and his brother Wyatt (who was 18 years old) were part of a robbery in which they had and showed to the victim a non-operational shotgun that could not fire. They dropped the victim off and a few hours later, he died from a heart attack. Reid has been incarcerated since 1980. He is a plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

Reid wants to be released from prison so he can have a normal life. He has hopes of getting married, raising children, and being able to help his community.

Reid said this about aging in prison, "It is hard aging in prison because you see everything passing you by." He also believes that SCI Phoenix could have done more regarding the COVID19 pandemic. He said, "I think that everyone in prison should have been tested for COVID19, because it could have stopped its spread earlier. And testing would have shown just how dangerous it is to have us packed into these overcrowded prisons."

Reid has been incarcerated for almost four decades. He has spent more of his life in prison than he has as a free man. Despite dedicating a lifetime to self improvement and a desire to contribute to his community on the outside, Reid is not eligible for parole because of his felony murder conviction.

Wyatt Evans

Wyatt Evans is 57 years old and is currently imprisoned at the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Wyatt is serving a Death by Incarceration sentence (more commonly known as Life Without Parole) after being convicted of felony murder. When Wyatt was 18 years old, he and his brother Reid (who was 19 years old) were part of a robbery in which they had and showed to the victim a non-operational shotgun that could not fire. They dropped the victim off and a few hours later, he died from a heart attack. Wyatt has been incarcerated since 1980. He is a plaintiff in Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, a lawsuit that argues that Pennsylvania's mandatory life sentences without the eligibility for parole for felony murder are unconstitutional.

Wyatt wants people on the outside to know that lifers should have the opportunity for parole, especially those like him who have been incarcerated since the 1970s and 80s. "A lot of us have worked very hard to change our lives for the better." He says, "Aging in prison is one of the harshest situations a person can find themselves in,especially when there seems to be no end in sight. Some would believe that their life is over, while others would strive to never give up hope. So they work towards getting out by educating themselves and joining organizations that can help them be a better person."

When asked how SCI Phoenix is handling the COVID19 pandemic, Wyatt said the response has been inadequate: every prison cell contains two people, making it difficult to practice social distancing, and no one is being tested unless they exhibit symptoms.

Wyatt has been incarcerated for the majority of his life. He has matured, evolved, and educated himself. He wants a chance to live outside of the prison walls and contribute to society. Despite longing for a better future, Wyatt is not eligible for parole because of his felony murder conviction.

Last modified 

July 15, 2020