May 19, 2016 |
WERNERSVILLE, Pa. - When Henry Hamm, a 61-year-old Lancaster man who has schizophrenia, finished serving time for writing a bad check, he was sent to a new program designed to help offenders with serious mental illnesses rejoin the outside world. He joined Pathways Transitional Wellness Center, which connects mentally ill parolees to social and medical services, housing, and jobs before they try to make it on their own. Three months later, he's a fan of the nine-month-old Department of Corrections program, which is housed in a boxy, utilitarian building on the grounds of Wernersville State Hospital, about nine miles southwest of Reading.
May 10, 2016 |
The story's end is usually upbeat: A lifer proves he was wrongly convicted and savors freedom. Edward E. Stewart, 36, knows that story. He lived it. He served 10 years of a life term before he was acquitted at a new trial of a 2006 murder in a speakeasy he ran out of the basement of his Fern Rock house. On Dec. 3, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury cleared him in 1 hour and 38 minutes - two hours less than it took the first jury to convict. He walked out of the Criminal Justice Center without a dime, still wearing his prison-issue blue pants and T-shirt.
May 7, 2016 |
The manhunt for an escaped prison inmate in Barnegat Township, N.J., was scaled back Thursday afternoon after state investigators determined that he was no longer in the area. Schools in the Pinelands community were placed on lockdown Wednesday, and residents were urged to lock their homes and cars, after Arthur Buckel, 38, was seen at a CVS store in the Ocean County town. Buckel escaped from Bayside State Prison's satellite unit at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Winslow, Camden County, between 4 and 6 a.m. Tuesday.
April 27, 2016 |
An ex-Philadelphia prison inmate testified Tuesday that Rudolph Churchill admitted raping and killing two North Philadelphia women in 1989 and bemoaned the fact that he would have gotten away with it but for DNA. Richard Simmons, 44, described an April 2014 conversation he said he had with Churchill in a day room in the city's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Center. Simmons was awaiting trial on a charge of bringing marijuana into prison; Churchill had just been charged with raping and strangling 19-year-old Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible, 33. "He said he wouldn't have got caught if he didn't give his DNA," Simmons told the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury in the fifth day of testimony in the rape-murder trial of Churchill, 54, of Paulsboro, Gloucester County.
April 19, 2016 |
It was supposed to be open by now: The second-largest construction project in Pennsylvania state history is State Correctional Institutions Phoenix, rising on former farmland next to the 87-year-old SCI Graterford prison in Montgomery County. Only the $800 million Convention Center in Philadelphia cost taxpayers more. Phoenix is a million-square-foot complex, about as big as the Comcast Center, the state's tallest office tower. It is designed to house 3,872 inmates, a few hundred more than now live at Graterford, the main state prison for the Philadelphia area.
April 14, 2016 |
Philadelphia has been awarded a $3.5 million MacArthur Foundation grant to fund an aggressive plan to reduce its prison population by 34 percent over three years while addressing racial bias across the criminal justice system. If the plan is successful, Philadelphia would offer a national model for criminal justice reform while ending its dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate of any big city in the nation. "It is a bold and ambitious plan that is also sound, practical, and reasonable," said Laurie Garduque, director of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation justice reform program.
March 26, 2016
A former prison guard admitted Thursday he smuggled prescription pills and a cell phone to an inmate in his Philadelphia prison. Dupree Myers, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court to attempted extortion which interfered with interstate commerce, and attempted distribution of controlled substances. Myers was one of six guards within the Philadelphia Prison System to be charged with smuggling drugs or cell phones to inmates for money. Myers and four others have pleaded guilty. Another guard is awaiting trial.
March 24, 2016 |
Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, a Real Housewives of New Jersey star, is expected to begin a 41-month prison sentence Wednesday at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix on bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy charges. His wife, Teresa, who also pleaded guilty to fraud charges, was released in December from the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., after serving nearly a year there. The couple are featured in the Bravo reality show, first telecast in 2009. They have four daughters.
March 5, 2016
A female corrections officer was struck in the face by an inmate at Philadelphia's House of Correction on Wednesday, causing an injury that will likely require surgery, authorities said Thursday. The officer was hit by 26-year-old Ricky Smith during a routine wellness check of a cell block around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to prison spokeswoman Shawn Hawes. The officer, whom Hawes did not identify, suffered a "pretty severe" laceration to her face, Hawes said. The officer had been treated and released from the hospital but the injury will likely require future surgery, Hawes said.