Criminal Justice Reform

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Criminal-justice reform advocates kicked off a “Campaign for Smart Justice” in Allegheny County this week, with the goal of reducing mass incarceration. Led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the campaign aims to engage local activists and organizations in promoting what it calls “smart justice” policies.

Kathy Willens / AP

Pennsylvania earned a "D" in a study that grades states based on the way they handle criminal cases from the time defendants are arrested to the time they’re found guilty or innocent. "D" was the average grade nationally.

 

Dan Hallman/Invision / AP

Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill is calling on Pennsylvania lawmakers to reform the state's parole and probation systems.

Marc Levy / AP

A GOP-controlled state Senate committee is making slow, careful progress at changing Pennsylvania’s justice system to focus on reforming the convicted and reducing prison populations.

The effort is led by the GOP Committee Chair Stewart Greenleaf, who is trying to pass as many justice overhaul proposals as possible before his retirement at the end of the year.

Greenleaf, of Bucks County, often acknowledges that his desire to change the system came later in his long career, after years of taking a tough-on-crime approach.

Marc Levy / AP

Governor Tom Wolf and a number of legislators are pushing for a slew of changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

The call comes in the wake of a few victories for reform advocates, but in the face of opposition from a significant portion of the legislature’s GOP majority.

On the agenda are eight initiatives, including standardizing bail across counties, pumping more money into public defense, providing a clean slate for old misdemeanors, and a second phase of Justice Reinvestment initiatives aimed at reducing recidivism.

Friends of Mik Pappas

For the first time in 24 years, Ron Costa, Sr., will face an opponent in the Nov. 7 election for magisterial district judge. Attorney Mik Pappas is running to unseat him in Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District, which includes eight East End neighborhoods.

Running as an Independent, Pappas calls himself progressive.

Marc Levy / AP

Issues such as police use of force and mass incarceration have long fueled calls for criminal justice reform. But some have proposed going a step further by abolishing prisons altogether.

 

In his book published last year, Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform, Harvard philosophy professor Tommie Shelby addresses poverty and racial marginalization. He argues they will persist unless society tackles the underlying inequities that sustain them.

 

Pennsylvania Grapples With New Sentences For Juvenile Lifers

Jul 31, 2017
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections / AP

On a long-ago summer night, 16-year-old Giovanni Reid accepted a neighbor's invitation to an International House of Pancakes restaurant as thanks for watching the man's infant son.