Prisons and Corrections in the News
Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley - Prisons and Corrections in the News
- Lehigh Valley sees major drops in serious crime in 2018; Allentown's numbers may be lowest in decades (Morning Call: Feb. 1, 2019)
- Probation reforms pushed by Pennsylvania senators seeking savings, fairness
(Morning Call: Jan. 29, 2019)
- Wolf signs criminal justice reform bills into law (Daily Local News, Oct. 27, 2018)
- Larry Krasner's Campaign to End Mass Incarceration (New Yorker: Oct. 29, 2018)
Philadelphia's District Attorney reinvents the role of the modern prosecutor.
- Northampton County: Judge Zito - accused of improperly pressuring defendants to plead guilty
- Defense attorney files motion criticizing county judge, asks for his recusal
(Riley Yates, Morning Call: Oct. 22, 2018)
- Judge, lawyer clash over courtroom allegations of strong-arming defendants
(Riley Yates, Morning Call: Oct. 30, 2018)
- Northampton County judge recuses himself from case, calls motion against him 'yellow journalism' (Riley Yates, Morning Call: Nov. 1, 2018)
- Readers React: Judge Zito improves Northampton County criminal court system (Morning Call: Nov. 1, 2018)
- Changes in PA Prison Policies for Mail, Books, and Visitors
In September 2019, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) instituted new restrictive polices on mail, books, and visitors in state prisons in response to the drug crisis.
On October 19, responding to public protest, the DOC announced changes to some of the offensive policies listed in this on-line petition to Governor Wolf and described in news reports (below). A summary of recent DOC policy changes is posted here, and there is additional information linked to the DOC homepage: www.cor.pa.gov.
- Why are so many Pa. prison inmates committing suicide? (philly.com: Oct. 9, 2018)
- Report pans life without parole in Pennsylvania (Riley Yates, Morning Call, Sept. 21, 2018)
- Jail to Jobs: A place to call home [Lazarus House] (Morning Call: Sept. 17, 2018)
- Sept. 12, 2018 Lehigh County Board of Commissioners meeting with EMI presentation about ending cash bail and response.
- With new proposal, trauma-informed care could become standard in Pa. schools
(WHYY: Sept. 4, 2018)
Breaking the "pipeline to prison": a proposal by Senators Vincent Hughes and Pat Browne for "trauma-informed system education" in PA, including a requirement that all teachers, school board members, and school employees "with direct contact with students" receive trauma-informed training. For further reading, see Lancaster County ACEs & Resilience Connection.
- Despite promises to do better, Pennsylvania continues to jail the mentally incompetent
(Riley Yates, The Morning Call, July 28, 2018)
- Pennsylvania's bail system keeps poor people in jail
(Riley Yates, Peter Hall, The Morning Call, July 20, 2018)
- Behind Erie's falling violent crime, signs of an initiative's success
(GoErie: July 15, 2018)
- Despite new resentencing guidelines, juvenile lifers still getting long prison terms
(philly.com, Morning Call: July 16, 2018)
- Video documentary: American Jail:
- Oscar-winning Easton filmmaker visits hometown prison in new movie
(Express-Times, June 22, 2018)
- Easton native Roger Ross Williams talks about latest film, 'American Jail' (Morning Call, July 2, 2018)
- Pa. Task Force Report: Changes to death penalty suggested (The Morning Call, June 25, 2018)
- Clean Slate Act becomes law:
- Jail to Jobs: Women's prison has a vision for success
(Laurie Mason Schroeder, The Morning Call, June 17, 2018)
- Pennsylvania Probation Under Scrutiny
(Riley Yates, The Morning Call, June 10, 2018)
- More Probation violations cost woman jail time
(Riley Yates, The Morning Call, June 16, 2018)
- Can the rural prison economy survive the era of decarceration?
by Samantha Melamed (philly.com, June 7; Morning Call, June 11, 2018)
- Court Fees Pile up, Imperiling the Poor
(Riley Yates, The Morning Call, May 13, 2018)
- Larry Krasner's first year as Philly DA: Staff turnover, fewer cases, plenty of controversy (philly.com: Jan. 6, 2019)
- Philadelphia will stop keeping a portion of defendants' bail (Reading Eagle: Oct. 11, 2018)
- Phila. Courts Revoke Policy Allowing It to Retain 30 Percent of Cash Bail Deposit
(law.com: Oct. 10, 2018)
- Philadelphia's New Top Prosecutor Is Rolling Out Wild, Unprecedented Criminal Justice Reforms (portside.org Mar. 29, 2018)
- Philadelphia City Council Resolution to End Cash Bail
(phillymag.com, Feb. 2, 2018)
- Larry Krasner (Philadelphia District Attorney): prosecutors will no longer seek cash bail for people accused of some misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies
(philly.com, Feb. 21, 2018)
- Philadelphia economic impact study: the city could save $75 million a year by ending cash bail and sending thousands of people arrested each year for nonviolent, low-level crimes home to await their court dates.
(injusticetoday.com, Oct. 26, 2017)
Letters to the Editor
Lehigh County Jail
- Man dies at Lehigh County corrections center, authorities say (Morning Call: Dec. 31, 2018)
- Authorities: Former Lehigh County Jail nurse charged in sex assault with inmate
(Morning Call: Oct. 3, 2017)
- Authorities: Inmate at Lehigh County jail found dead
(Morning Call: June 26, 2017)
- Inmate at Lehigh County Jail dies; autopsy to be performed
(Morning Call: July 24, 2015)
- Jail medical care not cause of inmate's death, Lehigh County jury rules
(Morning Call: March 27, 2015)
- Former Lehigh County jail doctor gets 3 1/2 years in prison for cheating taxpayers
(Morning Call: April 20, 2015)
- Lehigh County jail prisoner grieivance (Lehigh Valley IWW: Sept. 12, 2015)
- Families blame Lehigh County Jail inmates' deaths on staff
(Morning Call: Nov. 23, 2014)
- Cellmate: Ex-prison doc talked about shooting judge (Morning Call: July 22, 2014)
[Note: Lehigh County jail contracts for medical services with PrimeCare]
PrimeCare Medical Inc., contract audit - Northampton County (Nov. 25, 2015)
- Inmate hangs himself in Lehigh County Prison cell, officials say
(LehighValleyLive: January 17, 2014)
- No charges in Lehigh County inmate's death following seizure, being placed in restraint chair
(LehighValleyLive: August 8, 2013)
- Court Case:Charles Shumanis v. Lehigh County Warden Dale Miesel, Warden Janine Donate, Sergeant Eric Saborsky, Sergant Ronald March, Correction Office Eric Nowicki
Judicial decision Jan. 18, 2017, regarding jail incident on Nov. 16, 2012.
- Janine Donate resigned as Warden of Lakawanna County prison in 2010, and subsequently was hired as Warden of Lehigh County Jail.
U.S. and International - Prisons and Corrections in the News
- Reentry Central is a national website for news and information on the subject of reentry and related criminal justice issues (requires $35 annual subscription to access news stories).
- Jail or Bail? There's a New Option (New York Times: Feb. 1, 2019)
"Supervised release" allows judges in New York City to let those who cannot afford bail be released before trial on a kind of parole (similar to what happens in New Jersey).
- How Prison Gerrymandering Strips Power from Communities of Color
(In These Times: Aug. 16, 2018).
Also, see this related story on Pennsylvania:
Census Bureau policy costs urban Pennsylvania political clout in legislature.
- Modern Day Debtors' Prisons (NY Times editorial: Aug. 6, 2018)
The time has come to end cash bail, a major factor in inequality in the court system.
- Denouncing America's "Debtor Prison" System, Sanders Introduces Bill to End Cash Bail (Common Dreams: July 25, 2018)
Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced the "No Money Bail Act" (PDF summary), and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has introduced a companion bill in the House.
- Vera Institute of Justice - links to many national news stories on mass incarceration
- America's outcasts: the women trapped in a cruel cycle of exploitation
(The Guardian, June 29, 2018)
- Pain and terror: America's history of racism (The Guardian, 4/26/2018)
Report about a new museum in Montgomery, Alabama, founded by Bryan Stevenson, the prison reform lawyer -- on America's history of lynching and the link to the present, our present.
- Mental Health Disorders Are Pervasive in the Juvenile Justice System. Here's How One State Is Addressing It (Sojourners: Mar. 22, 2018)
- Voter Opinion Towards Prosecutors Prior to 2018 Elections (ACLU: Dec. 12, 2017)
This ACLU survey shows strong voter support across the country for District Attorneys who are committed to criminal justice reforms.
NEW JERSEY - end of cash bail:
- New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform (CJR) - many news stories, reports, and publications on New Jersey's bail reform.
- Crime Rates Plunge in New Jersey, And Bail Reform Advocates Are Gloating
(WNYC: Nov. 28, 2018)
- Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of New Jersey's Bail Overhaul (NPR: July 10, 2018)
- In New Jersey, Sweeping Reforms Deliver Existential Threat To Bail Bonds Industry
(NPR: July 6, 2017)
- New Jersey Eliminates Cash Bail For Some Crimes
(NPR: March 27, 2017)
- New Jersey eliminates cash bail for people accused of some crimes
(marketplace.org, Jan. 9, 2017)
- Criminal justice (bail) reform in New Jersey
(nj.com, Dec. 30, 2016)