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Graterford

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NEWS
October 26, 1995 | by Kitty Caparella and Marianne Costantinou, Daily News Staff Writers
The massive raid at Graterford state prison earlier this week grabbed the attention of the outside world, but the biggest show of force was the quiet, hurried transfer of a dozen inmates who wielded the real power inside the prison walls. More than the unprecedented raid by 650 state troopers and prison guards, more than the forced retirement of two top prison officials, more than the strip-searches of the 3,490 inmates and the cell-by-cell shakedown for drugs and weapons, the biggest symbol of change was the dethroning of the reputed leader of prison wheeling-and-dealing.
NEWS
August 27, 2007
IWOULD LIKE to let my fellow inmates and the people who read the Daily News know that if you have bunk beds, please make sure that ladders are attached. State penal institutions don't provide inmates with some type of step or ladder to get to the top bunk because you're not obligated to sleep up there. I was getting into the top bunk and the seat I used, which is welded to a desk, broke and caused me to have a four-day hospital stay. I hurt my back, neck, hand and shoulder, and I have a civil lawsuit against the state currently in litigation.
NEWS
August 23, 2006
THE CARNAGE taking place in African-American communities throughout the country is a disgrace. Brothers, it's time for the foolishness to stop! We can't advance as a people dragging this albatross. This violence and general lawlessness will adversely affect generations to come. It will take the entire community armed with new thinking, new ideas, new approaches, new courage to solve the problem. We must accept the fact there is a direct correlation between what we are experiencing and the breakdown of the nuclear family.
NEWS
May 30, 1986 | By John Woestendiek, Inquirer Staff Writer
A nationally known prison expert yesterday described the state prison at Graterford as an overcrowded and potentially volatile institution plagued by physical deterioration and a lack of maintenance. Paul W. Keve, the author of five books about corrections and a professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in U.S. District Court yesterday that his findings were based on two tours of the prison - one in 1985 and a second this year. Keve called the prison infirmary "an especially unfortunate place" that was "seriously deficient" in size and cleanliness, and he criticized the prison's psychiatric ward, where he said inmates are shackled to their cots while awaiting transfer to psychiatric hospitals.
NEWS
September 28, 1994 | by Leigh Jackson, Daily News Staff Writer
Askia Muhammad twirled a thick slice of golden tomato at the end of his fork. "I don't know what it is but it tastes good," he said. "It's my first real meal in 13 years. " Muhammad, 48, a minimum security inmate at the State Prison at Graterford, was dining on quinoa salad and purple potatoes, bowtie pasta and spice cake. Satisfied, he pushed back his paper plate and declared the meal a healthful change from the mystery meats usually featured at Graterford. "It's real difficult," said Muhammad, "because you have a system that doesn't promote health.
NEWS
December 29, 1989 | By Jerry W. Byrd, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Gray Panthers, the national organization that fights for the rights of senior citizens, have tens of thousands of members and scores of chapters in all corners of the globe. Yesterday, they established a chapter in the most unlikely corner of all. A prison. The Eastern State Correctional Institution at Graterford, to be exact. The Gray Panthers granted a charter to 40 inmates at Graterford in central Montgomery County. Maggie Kuhn, 84, the group's founder, said the chapter is the first established at a prison.
NEWS
April 14, 1987 | By John Woestendiek, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a result of efforts to reduce overcrowding in Philadelphia's jails, the State Correctional Institution at Graterford is overflowing, with at least 50 inmates sleeping in the prison gymnasium. The inmate population in Philadelphia's jails is now about 4,200 - 100 over a cap that was to have gone into effect March 9. Last month, faced with court-ordered population caps and possible moratoriums on admissions, city prison officials met with state corrections officials. The state officials agreed to house some state-sentenced inmates who routinely had been held in the city jails.
NEWS
November 29, 1990 | By Cynthia J. McGroarty, Special to The Inquirer
Dickie Noles did a short stretch in Graterford Prison Saturday - about two hours. He wasn't charged with anything, except maybe the task of trying to set kids on the path to a law-abiding and literate life. The former starting pitcher for the Phillies was at the prison as part of a special Reading is Fundamental day coordinated by inmates and Episcopal Community Services of Philadelphia. During his visit, he thrilled inmates' children with autographed books, wristbands, hats, sunglasses and other goodies, and gave a gusty reading of "Casey at the Bat. " It wasn't Noles' first experience behind bars.
NEWS
May 25, 1988 | By Paul Scicchitano, Special to The Inquirer
An inmate at Graterford prison was stabbed to death yesterday during what prison officials described as a quarrel involving four inmates. Immediately following the incident, which occurred about 8:30 a.m., a general lockdown was ordered for the prison's 2,531 inmates. The incident is being investigated by prison officials, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and Pennsylvania State Police from the Limerick barracks, prison spokesman Alan J. Lefebvre said. The victim, identified as Daniel Brawley, 25, of Philadelphia, was taken to Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, where repeated attempts to revive him failed, Lefebvre said.
NEWS
April 18, 2011 | By Bonnie L. Cook, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A 33-year-old Bucks County inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford has been charged with murder in the death of another inmate who died seven weeks after he was beaten during an attack in an outdoors exercise cage, police said. John Anthony Kasianczuk, of the 8500 block of New Falls Road, Levittown, allegedly punched Roberto Avalle in the head, then stomped on Avalle's head, causing a brain hemorrhage that ultimately killed him, police said. The attack occurred on August, 22, 2010, officials said, but Avalle died on October 9, 2010, while being treated for his injuries in the infirmary at the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands, Somerset County.
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NEWS
March 26, 2015 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
DURING HIS first moments as a free man in nearly 45 years, Clarence Safwat Davis was thinking about groceries. Specifically, about whether his family needed to pick up bread and milk on the drive home to Tioga from the state correctional institution at Graterford. "It's something that's part of our normal flow as a family, something we always do and ask about," Davis, 64, said the other day, a few weeks after that January night. "I didn't want to miss that step. I really just wanted to pick up where we had left off. " But his first thought, even before pantry staples, was how surreal it felt to be able to do whatever he wanted for the first time since he was 20 years old. "I hoped that no one would come along and pinch me and wake me up from this dream," he said.
NEWS
January 9, 2015 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
YESTERDAY, CLARENCE DAVIS received the best news he'd heard in 40 years. After waging a legal battle over what he claimed was false testimony and a botched prosecution in a 1970 murder case, Davis, 63, was granted parole by a Philadelphia Common Pleas judge after negotiating a new guilty plea. Initially convicted of robbery and first-degree murder, Davis' new deal had him plead to third-degree murder, robbery and firearms offenses, and sealed his release from the state Correctional Institution at Graterford.
NEWS
September 23, 2014
THE PART OF the judicial system that worked for Marcus Perez: the stone-walled State Correctional Institution at Graterford. The part that didn't work for him: the courts, which put him there for life on a botched sentence. Don't take my word for the botch. I have the word of 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Theodore McKee. Then a Common Pleas judge, McKee told me he made a mistake that Perez has spent more than 20 years in the maximum-security lockup trying to fix. When Perez took a plea bargain for his part in a homicide he does not deny, McKee told him "life" doesn't mean "life" and, "You will not die in prison.
BUSINESS
August 19, 2014 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eight-and-a-half years after the judge sent him upstate, Pennsylvania's parole board sent David Downey home from Waymart State Correctional Institution , after stints at Graterford and Camp Hill , to suburban Philadelphia, and his business plan. He had been convicted of drug delivery resulting in the 2005 death of a teenage escort-service worker, Ashley Burg . She was killed by a cocaine overdose at Downey's home. Downey had been a government intelligence veteran and then turned to being a business consultant.
NEWS
July 22, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
IN THE LATE '90s, John Phillips had everything he'd dreamed of. A street-smart kid from North Philly, he had built a small empire: He owned delis, bought a condo at 17 and drove a tricked-out Lexus, complete with TVs in the headrests hooked up to a Nintendo 64. It was life in the short-term, and it was funded by crime: Phillips was a gang member, a "hustler," by his own admission. Around the same time, Harun Fox was already about 20 years into a life sentence on a first-degree-murder conviction.
NEWS
June 10, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
DR. PAUL J. FINK admitted to feeling a bit uneasy. There he was with 100 community leaders at an anti-crime summit in Graterford prison, sitting across from 100 inmates who were unlikely ever again to see the light of freedom. To get to the chapel, where the meeting was held, Fink and his group had to follow guards through the many clanging gates and locks that served as a stark reminder of what it must be like to be shut away for life. But to Dr. Fink's relief and satisfaction, the inmates were just as eager as the community leaders to find answers to what was happening to young people outside in the violent streets.
NEWS
April 11, 2014
IT'S TRULY A SAD DAY for journalism, and for the world at large. An icon of the Daily News is gone. I spent many an evening of my youth with a dictionary in my hand reading Chuck Stone's columns. I may not have known every word he used in his column but I always knew what he meant to say. Yes, he used words the way Gillette wielded a razor, but in doing he always educated and inspired his readers to be more than they were before reading his words. And for those who felt he was their only hope for surviving, in surrender, they knew a truly good man without being one themselves.
NEWS
April 8, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
USED TO BE that when Philly criminals heard that police were looking for them, they went looking for Chuck Stone. They'd find him in the ivory tower at Broad and Callowhill - a trustworthy Daily News scribe who would facilitate their surrender to a Police Department they felt they couldn't trust. Men accused of murder, assault, shootings and burglaries called Stone at all hours of the night, asking for his help. Some wanted to clear their names. Most, of course, were guilty.
NEWS
April 3, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Allan H. Lawson, 77, of Philadelphia, an advocate for the rights of prison inmates, died Sunday, March 30, of liver disease at Good Shepherd Hospice in Center City. Mr. Lawson was moved to become an activist on behalf of prisoners because of what he saw while confined at Holmesburg and Graterford Prisons after a robbery conviction. He was pardoned by Gov. Milton Shapp and released in the early 1970s. After his release, he became director of the nonprofit Prisoners' Rights Council of Philadelphia, and in 2008, he was honored with an Appreciation Award from the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania for his years of work on prisoner rights.
NEWS
February 14, 2014 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
A STATE PRISON guard now is jailed after police arrested him in a tax-fraud scheme that allegedly netted him and his four accomplices thousands of dollars. Kenneth Davidson, 38, a corrections officer at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, allegedly headed the scam, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Davidson worked a part-time, seasonal job at H&R Block and used his position there - unknown to his bosses - to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds worth thousands, according to the D.A.'s office.
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