William Allen is one step closer to freedom



Alice Macgarvie Thompson advocates for William Allen

After being incarcerated for over 25 years for assisting in a robbery that led to a murder, William Allen is one step closer to his freedom.

The local organization Second Chance Justice (SCJ) has spent the past several years calling for Allen’s clemency. Run through the Brockton Interfaith Community, their website states that SCJ is “committed to the liberation of all people through faith-based organizing principles.” Earlier this year, SCJ held a protest in which a coalition of activists gathered in support of Governor Charlie Baker granting clemency to Allen.

In March 2021, the Advisory Board of Pardons allowed Allen a hearing to plead for his release. Allen met again with the board in June for his commutation hearing. When a sentence is commuted, the punishment for the crime committed is reduced.

Seven months after that meeting, in Jan. 2022, Baker approved Allen’s commutation, and the Governor’s Council approved the commutation on Feb. 16.

On Friday, Mar. 31, Allen had his parole hearing, just one year after he stood in front of the Advisory Board of Pardons.

Junior Alice MacGarvie Thompson, who dedicates much of her time to fighting oppression in the incarceration system, worked with SCJ on a letter-writing campaign for Allen prior to his parole hearing. According to MacGarvie Thompson, this parole hearing was monumental for Allen’s case.

“I talked to Allen in December, and we weren’t really sure what was going to happen. We really pushed for this. And now that it has happened, it is really huge. This is a huge moment with the governor, because this has not happened in so long,” MacGarvie Thompson said.

The parole board has two weeks of deliberation before Allen receives the verdict, which MacGarvie Thompson said will most likely grant him parole. If Allen is granted parole, he has plans set up for his future.

“His number one priority when he is freed will be doing work with young people and families in Brockton, especially those impacted by incarceration,” MacGarvie Thompson said. “He wants to give back love to his family and community.”