May 11, 2015 |
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?
August 14, 2014 |
William J. Gray, "the Jogging Rapist" who sexually assaulted 16 girls under age 18 in Olney and Northeast Philadelphia during a self-described "raping spree" in 1979, has been denied parole. It's the 10th time that the state has refused parole to Gray, 71, who is serving a sentence of 20 to 50 years in the State Correctional Institution at Waymart, near Scranton. Gray pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape and assault in 1980. The Inquirer, which in June published a series of articles on the Jogging Rapist and his bid to get out of prison, has obtained a copy of a letter sent from the state Office of the Victim Advocate to one of his victims, Susanne Worsham, announcing the denial of parole.
May 11, 2014 |
Even with a supportive family waiting for him at home, the waning days of Carlos Merced's federal prison term were nerve wracking. "Where was I going to work? Was I going to be able to stay on the straight and narrow, or would I be back here?" the former inmate remembers thinking at the time. It was eight years ago this month that Merced's mother and younger brother drove from Camden to Lewisburg Federal Prison in Pennsylvania, where he had served 41/2 years. They took him to a halfway house in Philadelphia.
February 27, 2014 |
Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John M. Perzel, the Northeast Philadelphia legislator sent to prison for public corruption, is set to be paroled this week, earlier than his minimum sentence. Another former House speaker, H. William DeWeese, also sent to prison for his role in a separate corruption scandal, is scheduled for parole next month earlier than his minimum sentence. Perzel, 64, and DeWeese, 63, were eligible for reduced sentences under a program for nonviolent inmates who stay out of trouble while behind bars, said Sherry Tate, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
February 4, 2014 |
On calendars and in his head, Stephen Gallo tracks the number of days that have passed since his 19-year-old daughter, Nicole, was killed by an intoxicated driver. Gallo's mother, Donna, has watched her daughter's friends graduate from college, and seen her son pass his sister's age. Life moves on. But for the Gallos, time stopped the day Rachael Jankins killed Nicole in August 2009. When the Gallos learned that Jankins, 25, was up for parole last year, they took part in a new program that lets crime victims meet privately with the state parole board and testify about the impact of the crime.
September 16, 2013 |
MERCER, Pa. - When he finally stopped swinging a metal bar at her, Rafael Robb said, he glanced down at his wife crumpled on the kitchen floor. Her battered face was unrecognizable. "Like one of those horror movies," he said. "Like Frankenstein - except it was in my house. " Robb was a University of Pennsylvania economics professor when he bludgeoned his 49-year-old wife, Ellen Gregory Robb, in their Upper Merion home seven years ago. The killing shocked the region.
July 27, 2013 |
CARSON CITY, Nev. - O.J. Simpson went before a parole board and pleaded for leniency on his armed robbery and kidnapping sentence Thursday as he expressed regret for his actions and described being an upstanding inmate who earns pennies an hour keeping gym equipment sanitized and umpiring and coaching games in the prison yard. Simpson also said he has become a counselor of sorts to fellow inmates doing time for similar crimes and noted that he has made amends with his victims in a botched heist of memorabilia in a hotel room in Las Vegas in 2007.
June 19, 2013 |
Gov. Corbett signed legislation Tuesday that will let crime victims and their families speak directly to members of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole before a decision is made on whether to release a prisoner. "Long overdue," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. "It's amazing to me this isn't something that was done years ago. " The new law, effective Sept. 1, changes the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act to clarify that victims or their representatives are entitled to meet with state parole board members during the review of a parole application.
April 26, 2013 |
Determinate vs. indeterminate sentencing isn't a topic that comes up in everyday conversation - until a convict's jail term or release boils over into a public controversy. That's what happened in January, when former University of Pennsylvania professor Rafael Robb's near-parole after he served a minimum amount of his five-to-10-year prison term for killing his wife, Ellen Gregory Robb, unleashed strong criticism. The state's sentencing system was discussed in a calmer fashion Thursday during a Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on possible changes.
April 18, 2013 |
New Jersey's parole officers can continue to carry their guns under most circumstances, according to a lawyer representing the officers in a court case. The parole officers and parole board came to an informal agreement tentatively settling the case just as the two sides were set to appear before Superior Court Judge Paul Innes Wednesday. The officers had asked the Mercer County judge to block a new work policy from going into effect restricting when they could carry their guns. "I was surprised at the health and safety issues that these employees face every day," said Robert O'Brien, of O'Brien, Belland & Bushinsky in Cherry Hill.