June 6, 2016 |
Over the last few decades, Philadelphia has become known as the juvenile-lifer capital of the world, home to 300 people sentenced as teens to die in prison. That era is rapidly drawing to a close. Two men locked up since the 1970s received new sentences Friday, making them eligible for parole immediately. It marks the start of a resentencing process in the city that could take up to three years. By the end of it, District Attorney Seth Williams expects almost no juveniles will be sentenced to life without parole - a fate the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama in 2012 must be "uncommon," reserved for the "rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.
May 18, 2016 |
Rafael Robb, a former University of Pennsylvania professor imprisoned for killing his wife in 2006, has been denied early release by the state parole board, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office announced Monday. The board's decision means Robb will serve his full 10-year sentence for the death of Ellen Gregory Robb. But her family is still concerned about the fact that Robb will be free in January, at the end of his sentence. "Our goal is clearly to make sure that his probation terms are of the strictest and tightest that they should be for a violent offender of this nature," Gary Gregory, Ellen Robb's brother, said at a news conference Monday.
March 29, 2016 |
AT AGE 60, Earl Rice Jr. is living for the future. "I train myself to get up at 4 every morning," he said, "just so when I go home, I'll be up before the sun rises and ready to go. " Rice has served 43 years toward a life sentence at Graterford state prison for a purse-snatching gone wrong at age 17. Now, for the first time, he has a chance at release. "There's a lot of people I want to spend time with and things I want to do," said Rice, now a great-grandfather. There's a trip to Disney World with his daughter that's decades overdue.
February 25, 2016 |
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to grant parole to a 79-year-old man convicted in the 1973 murder of a state trooper, ruling that a lower court erred in endorsing his release without a full review by the state Parole Board. In a 4-1 decision, the high court reversed an Appellate Division ruling and ordered the Parole Board to conduct a full hearing to determine Sundiata Acoli's suitability for release. The court did not offer an opinion on his suitability, but handed down a narrow ruling on procedural grounds.
February 10, 2016 |
Montgomery County's district attorney joined relatives of Ellen Gregory Robb on Monday to publicly renew their opposition to parole for Rafael Robb, her husband and a former University of Pennsylvania professor, who is imprisoned for killing her. "Ellen is serving a lifetime sentence in her grave, and this man must fill his entire sentence," her brother Gary Gregory said at a news conference in Norristown. Rafael Robb pleaded guilty in 2007 to fatally bludgeoning his wife in their Upper Merion Township home in 2006 as she was wrapping Christmas presents.
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.