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Questions About Humane Treatment Of Inmates Persist In Allegheny County Jails

Keith Srakocic
An inmate is escorted to court by Allegheny County Sheriffs for a sentencing hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County has adopted a new comprehensive policy regarding the treatment of pregnant inmates—a result of a suit filed against the county alleging cruel and unusual punishment of five women who were placed in solitary confinement for minor infractions.

Meanwhile, three Allegheny County Jail corrections officers have sued the county, alleging harassment for taking medical or family leave instead of working mandatory overtime. All this comes in the wake of the jail's third inmate suicide this year.


We talk solitary confinement, mental illness in prison populations and how Pennsylvania prisons look to the warden of the world's most humane prison with Rich Lord, investigative reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Samantha Melamed, staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and


Coming up next...


Pittsburgh education advocacy group A+ Schools released its annual report Monday highlighting persistent disparities in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Executive Director James Fogarty described Pittsburgh as a city with two school districts, where some schools have high rates of achievement and low suspensions, and others with similar socioeconomic makeups and the same resources continue to produce failing test scores, chronic absenteeism and high teacher turnover. Early last year, the district reported an average teacher turnover rate of 22 percent over a three-year period.


Molly Born, education reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Sarah Schneider, WESA education reporter, discuss what can be done about chronic problems in the district and how its affecting an ongoing union contract negotiation inside Pittsburgh Public Schools.

And finally...


The holiday season officially begins Friday with Light Up Night, a tradition that began in 1959, though not during the holiday season. From Light Up Night to the nationality rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, from ice skating to the Phipps Flower Shower, we talk about the upcoming festivities and their history.


Rossilynne Culgan, food and culture editor with The Incline, and Bobby Cherry, news editor with the Sewickley Herald, bring the holiday cheer.


Need more? Check out WESA's official holiday must-do guide here.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

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