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Turahn Jenkins Says True Criminal Justice Reform Requires Change, Starting With The DA's Office

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA


It’s been a trying year for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, spawning lengthy grand jury reports and charges against one East Pittsburgh Police officer.

Now Turahn Jenkins, a criminal defense attorney and former public defender, hopes to give incumbent Stephen Zappala a tough primary race this May -- something Zappala hasn’t faced in 20 years.

Credit Kevin Gavin / WESA
Democratic Allegheny County District Attorney Candidate Turahn Jenkins stands outside of the WESA studios.

Soon after he announced his candidacy, Jenkins faced backlash and calls to drop out when advocates raised questions about his ties to the Bible Baptist Church in Wilkinsburg, which preaches that homosexuality and identifying as transgender are sins. When asked about these comments, Jenkins said he’d like to keep his personal views separate from the race.  

If elected, Jenkins said he'd like to change how the district attorney's office approaches its criminal justice system.

“We have to be smarter on crime, because tough on crime hasn’t worked,” he said. Finding resources for those incarcerated to rehabilitate themselves and access opportunities on the outside is essential, he said. 

Later in the program, archeologists are calling a Pittsburgh writer prehistory’s poet laureate. Tim Miller’s new poetry collection, “Bone Antler Stone,” examines the prehistoric life of Europe. WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll reports on Miller’s mission to interpret the artifacts of the ancient world.

And for many Pittsburghers, temporary positions are common. Organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements, offering flexibility, but also a degree of uncertainty. In the latest episode of WESA's Still Working podcast, creators Margaret J. Krauss and Kevin C. Brown look at gig work through the eyes of a Santa Claus, stripper, adjunct professor and magician.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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