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 14, 2015 |
The first of six Philadelphia prison guards ensnared in an FBI sting pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court. George Kindle, 29, admitted that he smuggled drugs and a cellphone into the House of Corrections for prisoners. In exchange, Kindle, who spent seven years as a Philadelphia corrections officer, received payments that totaled $2,000. The prisoners, however, were working with the FBI. Kindle pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted extortion and attempted distribution of controlled substances.
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.
October 16, 2015 |
The death of an inmate this week at the Bucks County prison was a homicide and a fellow inmate is suspected in the killing, county officials said Wednesday. The victim, who has not been identified, died Monday from injuries sustained during an incident Sunday, officials said. An autopsy Tuesday determined homicide was the manner of death. Kristi Hoover, a Bucks County deputy district attorney, said no weapons were used, adding that the inmate's death appears to stem from a brain injury.
October 12, 2015 |
I'M OBSESSED these days with Philly stories about how one person's lone decision, made in a moment of compassion, can change lives. Take Anne Mahlum. In her teens, she started running to deal with the stress of living in a household beset by addiction. Running gave her clarity and strength. One day in 2007, she was on a jog through Center City, wondering what her life's purpose was. When she ran past a group of homeless men outside a shelter, she realized it was time to stop running past the men and start running with them.
October 3, 2015 |
The Philadelphia death-row inmate who has become an unlikely poster child in the state's ongoing fight over the morality of capital punishment has received one more chance to potentially fend off his execution, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. That court agreed Thursday to scrutinize the role played in the case by a major figure in the recent history of Pennsylvania courts and Philadelphia politics: Ronald D. Castille. The high court announced it would take up the appeal by Terrance Williams, convicted in the 1984 beating death of a Germantown church deacon, who argues that Pennsylvania's former chief justice should not have taken part in a decision to uphold his punishment last year.
September 24, 2015 |
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!
August 26, 2015 |
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.