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.
March 3, 2016
THE LONG ODYSSEY of Graterford inmate Marcus Perez continues, but on Tuesday an appeal was filed to seek court permission to correct the wrongful life sentence he received. Perez should "have gotten relief 25 years ago; the claim is obvious," says Michael Wiseman, his court-appointed attorney. Perez's constitutional rights were violated, Wiseman's motion claims. The 45-year-old Perez has spent 26 years in jail, doing life because of bad information he was given by a judge, who urged Perez to take a plea bargain.
February 14, 2016
Prison fires teacher from Delran accused of assaulting inmate TRENTON - A prison teacher accused of sexually assaulting an inmate more than 20 times and becoming pregnant by him twice has been fired. Mercer County prosecutors say Chong-Hwa Chang, 42, of Delran, taught at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and had a sexual relationship with the inmate. NJ.com reported that the Corrections Department found a journal in Chang's home in which, prosecutors said, she admitted to the relationship and source of the pregnancies.
January 23, 2016
An inmate died Thursday after a New Jersey Department of Corrections van struck a flatbed truck in Cumberland County, state police said. The crash occurred around 1:45 p.m. in the southbound lane of State Highway 55 in Millville. The van, from Bayside State Prison, was carrying two corrections officers and two inmates, including the one who was killed. The other inmate was taken to Inspira Medical Center in Vineland and remained hospitalized late Thursday afternoon. The officers were taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, state police said.
January 22, 2016 |
A former Philadelphia correctional officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling drugs and a cellphone to an inmate for a cash bribe, federal prosecutors said. John Wesley Herder, 49, of Philadelphia, was one of six correctional officers charged in a sting using prison informants to ferret out contraband smugglers. In October 2013, Herder agreed to smuggle OxyContin pills and a cellphone to an inmate at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Herder met with the inmate's purported associate, who also was working for the government, in a car in the parking lot of a Walgreens store in the city, and received 100 pills and a phone to give to the inmate and $1,000 for his trouble.
December 22, 2015 |
Qadree Jacobs left federal prison in August after serving 15 years - 40 percent of the 37 years he's lived - for convictions on gun and drug charges. He left the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) last week after completing his first semester. He's going back for more, with plans for an associate's degree in journalism or behavioral sciences. Jacobs was one of nine new college students who gathered last week to talk about the transition from cell to classroom. His 18-year-old son, who is about to graduate from high school, sat with him. Jacobs said he was trying to lead by example.
December 12, 2015 |
City officials announced Thursday a pilot program that will allow prison inmates to read books to their children through live video at neighborhood libraries. The program, called "Stories Alive," will be launched in February at three branch libraries, likely in Frankford, Nicetown, and Kensington, said Titus Moolathara, who manages prison library services for the Free Library of Philadelphia. Inmates and family members approved by the Philadelphia Prison System will have access on Saturdays to hour-long reading sessions.
November 8, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will receive a $1 million grant from the federal government to improve educational programming inside state prisons, Gov. Wolf announced Friday. The funds, awarded as part of a program called "Improved Reentry Education," will allow the department to partner with state colleges and universities, local labor agencies, and others to provide more educational and work-training programs to young inmates, Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel said in a statement.
October 30, 2015 |
PRISONS Commissioner Louis Giorla, who has spent 33 years working in Philly prisons including nearly eight in the top post, will retire in January. The son of a correctional officer, Giorla started his prisons career in 1982, as a correctional officer at the House of Correction, and has held every rank since then except deputy commissioner. He has presided over the city's six prisons through plenty of highs and lows. Among the lows: An ongoing class-action lawsuit over crowding and prison conditions and calls for outside oversight after several controversial inmate deaths and excessive force incidents.