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September 24, 2015 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
Over the last few months, unusual missives began arriving in the post office box of the Hearts on a Wire Collective , a grassroots collaboration between transgender people who meet weekly at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia and transgender prison inmates around the state. "We started getting letters from folks on the inside saying, 'I just had this bizarre conversation I never expected to have,' " said Adrian Lowe, one of the organizers. "People were saying, 'They just asked me if I needed a bra!
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Evan Davis sanded the back of a large walnut throne, scrubbing in the direction of the grain, to smooth the seat Pope Francis will sit on when he visits next month. In a carpentry shop at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC), Davis and about a dozen other inmates have been working for four weeks on the chair, nearly six feet high. "At first I thought it was a little strange, honestly, like, why's he coming to a prison?" Davis, 26, of West Philadelphia, said.
NEWS
July 20, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Douglas Duncan went to prison at age 24 for robbing three Manhattan doughnut shops with a kitchen knife. He left 16 years later with a master's degree and no idea of how to find a job. "Sing Sing gives you a lot of time to think and plan. " he says. "I just didn't know how I was going to go about it. Who was I going to contact?" But staffers at a nonprofit coached him on job interviews, perfected his resume, and - in the crucial first weeks out - got him work in landscaping. They helped him get an interview at a Long Island agency that works to curb youth violence.
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
Burlington County will close its aging women's jail Monday and transfer the female inmates to a jail in Mays Landing, Atlantic County, more than 40 miles away, officials confirmed Tuesday. The move is "a cost-saving initiative," projected to save Burlington County about $2 million in annual operating costs, according to Eric Arpert, county spokesman. He said the Corrections and Work Release Center in Pemberton Township houses an average of 70 to 75 female inmates a day. They are scheduled to be moved to Atlantic County's Justice Facility, which has beds for more than 1,000 male and female inmates.
NEWS
May 11, 2015 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
I'VE SPOKEN WITH enough inmates to know that jail is a humiliating, dangerous and depressing experience, punctuated by crushing stretches of boredom, loneliness and yearning. Prison staffers don't speak highly of the corrections experience, either. But at least they get to escape when the shift is over. So what could entice former inmates and jail employees to gather for a reunion at a place where hard time happened on both sides of the bars? Especially when the place is Eastern State Penitentiary, whose foreboding gates shut for good in 1971?
NEWS
April 29, 2015 | By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
A correctional officer at the Chester County Prison was arrested Monday on charges from alleged collusion with inmates and civilians in a long-term drug-smuggling scheme, the county district attorney said. Officer Douglas Keck, 45, of Pottstown, was repeatedly paid to obtain heroin and prescription drugs from friends of inmates and deliver them to former inmate Ray Gibase, 36, who distributed them inside the prison, officials said Monday. An arrest warrant has been issued for Gibase, a fugitive from a halfway house.
NEWS
April 1, 2015 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
A MAN who was on death row for years may now be at death's door. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted killer of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville early yesterday, according to Noelle Hanrahan, a spokeswoman for Prison Radio, an online media outlet that works with Abu-Jamal. Hanrahan told the Daily News from the hospital - not far from the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy, where Abu-Jamal was incarcerated - that none of Abu-Jamal's family, including his brother, Keith Cook, were allowed into the intensive-care unit to see him. The hospital's staff also refused to disclose any information about his condition, citing a mandate from the state Department of Corrections, according to Hanrahan.
NEWS
April 1, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
A lawyer representing Mumia Abu-Jamal said the former death-row inmate was hospitalized Monday for an undisclosed reason. Bret Grote, legal director for the Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center, said he and a small group of supporters were told by staff at Schuylkill Medical Center that Abu-Jamal was a patient there. Grote said he saw three prison correctional officers, including a supervisor, guarding the door to a critical-care room where Abu-Jamal was being treated. "We're concerned, about as concerned as it gets, about Mumia's health," Grote said.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
At a daylong briefing on immigration detention Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington heard testimony on a range of issues, including "institutional sexual assault" and the criminal charges filed recently against a guard at the Berks County Residential Center. The Leesport facility, under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, houses immigrants and their children while they await deportation proceedings. The guard, Daniel W. Sharkey, 40, of West Reading, was charged Jan. 16 over his alleged involvement with a 19-year-old Honduran woman who was housed at the facility with her 3-year-old son. He was not identified before the commission.
NEWS
January 17, 2015 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
The bell buzzes, and a correctional officer unlocks the towering blue door into the Camden County Jail. A metal detector greets visitors. Cellphones stay at the front desk, coats on a nearby hanger. Two doors operated from a control room grudgingly slide open, leading to an elevator. It has only a few buttons - open door, close door, stop - no floor options. It, too, is operated from afar. The elevator opens on the seventh floor. To the right, past a green cage door, is the gym. On Thursday morning, at least, the room offered inmates a brief change of scene from the jail drab.
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