August 27, 2016 |
By her estimate, Stacey Wilson has spent more than a week of her life traveling to and from prisons to visit her son Derron, who is serving 7-and-a-half to 15 years for attempted murder. He formerly was imprisoned at Graterford and Camp Hill, and she visited as often as twice a week. But these days, Derron Wilson, 25, is incarcerated at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Mercer - a 722-mile round-trip to Western Pennsylvania from Wilson's Wissinoming home. The trips take a toll, financially and physically.
August 20, 2016 |
At 44, Matthew Slaughter has seen a lot, and not much of it in an academic setting. He grew up in North Philadelphia's Richard Allen Homes and became a father when he was 14. Arrested before his 20th birthday for a 1990 murder in North Philadelphia, he was sentenced in 1992 to life in prison. Similarly, Edward Ramirez, 39, who grew up in Logan and whose father is a retired Philadelphia police officer, was just 18 when he committed a 1995 murder in Frankford for which he is serving a life term.
July 14, 2016
An inmate died at Graterford state prison in Montgomery County on Tuesday morning, the prison's superintendent reported. William Edinger, 38, of Philadelphia was found unresponsive in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford shortly after 9:30 a.m. He was taken to the prison infirmary, where he was pronounced dead at 10 a.m., said Wendy Shaylor, a prison spokeswoman. State police will investigate the death, as is policy. The Montgomery County Coroner's Office will determine Edinger's official cause of death, Shaylor said.
November 18, 2015 |
WHENEVER Josephine Johnson traveled to Ghana, she felt that she had gone home. She was always interested in her African heritage - actually from the age of 6 when she searched a Philadelphia library for information about Africa and found very little. Josephine B. Johnson, known to family and friends as "Mom," devoted her life in Philadelphia to powerful civic endeavors, working with prisoners and gangs, housing, education and other issues, fighting nuisance bars and suing Yellow Cab for discriminating in black neighborhoods.
August 3, 2015 |
Zaakirah Shelton, a petite girl in long, skinny braids, was quiet on the van ride from West Philadelphia to the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, nervous energy channeled into a jiggling knee. She was on her way to meet a figure who had been, until now, as familiar and inaccessible as a movie star: her father, Ellison Guilford. "When I was a baby, I saw him. That's when he first went to jail," she said. She's 15 now. Around 2.7 million children nationwide have an incarcerated parent.
March 26, 2015 |
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.
January 9, 2015 |
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.
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.
August 19, 2014 |
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.
July 22, 2014 |
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.