While the COVID crisis stopped much of the world in its tracks, Joan and Tom continued to find ways to help incarcerated people throughout the Commonwealth, as they have for decades. While their time on the board has come to end, their involvement in the Society will not. We cannot thank them enough, praise them enough, or honor them enough.
Together their board service represents several decades of commitment to the welfare of people in custody.
In many ways, Joan Porter is the heart of the Prison Society, modeling true compassion and a deep commitment to citizen action. As a long-standing and continuing volunteer, Joan meets with members of the Lifers Association every Friday. She tirelessly advocates for people in prison and their families. Joan continues to assist families with terminally ill loved ones in prison navigate the cumbersome process of "compassionate release," the term used to allow incarcerated people on hospice care to die at home.
As Board President, Tom's service to the Prison Society has been transformational. Through his leadership, the Prison Society has been rebuilt and revitalized to address the devastating impacts of mass incarceration. Tom will go down in history for his leadership of the Prison Society during a critical period. As the director of Prison Services for the Defender Association of Philadelphia Tom regularly does more good in the world in one day than many caring people do in their lifetimes.