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Prison Reform

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NEWS
October 26, 2012 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett signed into law Thursday sweeping prison-reform legislation aimed at reducing recidivism and lowering the skyrocketing cost of housing the state's inmates. "It's about time we started thinking a little smarter about how we incarcerate people," Corbett said at a news conference. "The answer isn't always building new prisons. " At the heart of the plan, which received bipartisan support in the legislature, is an effort to move inmates out of state prisons where costs are the highest and to help them become productive members of society.
NEWS
September 28, 1999 | By Glen Justice, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
Ernie Preate Jr. struck a preacher's tone as he argued for prison reform yesterday, quoting the Gospel and corrections statistics as if they were parts of the same text. It was not the speech one might expect from a man who put five criminals on death row as a prosecutor, then defended capital punishment in court as Pennsylvania's attorney general. But that was before he went to federal prison. Preate has now joined a growing number of former crime-busting politicians nationwide who are calling for prison reform after getting a taste of jailhouse life.
NEWS
October 24, 2014 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Karl Jenkins - also known as hip-hot artist Dice Raw - is standing onstage at the Freedom Theatre as a whirlwind of activity goes on around him. Dancers and actors are to the left as choreographer Rennie Harris busies himself with legwork. Director Ozzie Jones is stage right, consulting writer Phillip S. Brown's script. As Dice Raw, Jenkins deals with this kind of maelstrom regularly. He's the rapping wingman for the Roots and holds down a solo career in hip-hop. But with the 2013 release of the album Jimmy's Back , Raw opened a powder keg of anti-prison rhetoric, one set to explode onstage Friday and Saturday at Freedom, when his performance art/hip-hop musical/dance presentation The Last Jimmy debuts at the North Philadelphia venue.
NEWS
July 9, 2012 | by Hakim Ali & and Layne Mullett
GOV. CORBETT on Thursday signed Senate Bill 100 into law. The bill, introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, is intended to decrease the state's prison population and reduce corrections spending. The governor, who supported SB100 and recently initiated Pennsylvania's Justice Reinvestment process, has claimed the mantle of a prison reformer. But we all know that actions speak louder than words, and Corbett's actions speak volumes. As he pushes through another year of drastic budget cuts to education, social services and healthcare, Corbett has moved rapidly ahead with a massive expansion of Pennsylvania's prisons.
NEWS
January 13, 1987 | By Elizabeth Hallowell, Special to The Inquirer
Prison reform and an anticipated $58 million budget surplus are the major issues facing the General Assembly in the legislative session opening today, according to key legislators. "To spend or not to spend, to return or not to return," said House Speaker B. Bradford Barnes (R., Bridgeville), who said he favored returning a large portion of the money in the form of tax cuts. Delaware's income tax is based on the adjusted gross income on a taxpayer's federal return. Adjusted gross incomes are due to rise because of reductions in federal tax rates.
NEWS
April 11, 2008
PRISON REFORM in Pennsylvania got shoved into the 21st century, thanks to a package of proposed laws the House passed this week. That's more than can be said about the weak gun-control laws approved by the same body at the same time. When it comes to guns, too many Pennsylvania legislators, no matter what their constituents say, refuse to see beyond the 18th century and the good ol' days of the lone frontiersman. But real prison reform, locally and nationally, is on a contemporary track of change.
NEWS
May 9, 1996 | By Kristin E. Holmes, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Officials of the Justice Fellowship say they have a plan to ensure that their ideas for prison reform aren't ignored or forgotten like many other attempts to change the state corrections system. They're taking their ideas to the churches. As part of a three-year effort to develop a reform plan for Pennsylvania's prisons, the Christian group is holding meetings throughout the state to stir interest and support. "We are trying to build a movement and let the individuals in Harrisburg know there is a voice for change," said Carol B. Meyer, state director of the Justice Fellowship.
NEWS
July 15, 2015 | Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
As New York City prepares to do away with cash bail for thousands of low-level offenders charged with nonviolent crimes, Jim Kenney is weighing a bail proposal for Philadelphia, part of a broader plan to address the city's overcrowded prisons in the event that he wins the mayor's office this fall. Kenney's campaign spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, declined to provide details on what he is considering. But she said Kenney, who in May won the Democratic nomination for mayor, is looking to reduce the city's prison population while ending what she called "the epidemic of nonviolent offenders being kept in prison because of their inability to make nominal bails.
NEWS
July 19, 2012 | BY SEAN CARLIN and Daily News Staff Writer
LAST WEEK, Gov. Corbett signed a prison-reform bill that aims to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of state prisons, but for one group in the state, true reform means refraining from building any more prisons.   Decarcerate PA, which seeks to reduce the prison population and advocates for a moratorium on new prison facilities, spent Tuesday afternoon protesting two correctional facilities under construction in Skippack, Montgomery County. Thomas Ditcher of Decarcerate PA said the group protested adding the Phoenix I and II prisons on the site of the 83-year-old Graterford Prison that stands there.
NEWS
May 10, 2013 | Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Former Pennsylvania Gov. George M. Leader, the son of a chicken farmer who was elected to the state's highest office before he turned 40, died yesterday after a brief illness. He was 95. Two grandchildren were at Leader's side when he died at his home at Country Meadows assisted-living center in Hershey, a spokeswoman for the facility said. The center was the first in a network of 10 such facilities that Leader and his wife founded in 1985. A Democrat who was the second-youngest person to be elected Pennsylvania governor, Leader fought to rid government of patronage jobs and improve social services.
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NEWS
July 15, 2015 | Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
As New York City prepares to do away with cash bail for thousands of low-level offenders charged with nonviolent crimes, Jim Kenney is weighing a bail proposal for Philadelphia, part of a broader plan to address the city's overcrowded prisons in the event that he wins the mayor's office this fall. Kenney's campaign spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, declined to provide details on what he is considering. But she said Kenney, who in May won the Democratic nomination for mayor, is looking to reduce the city's prison population while ending what she called "the epidemic of nonviolent offenders being kept in prison because of their inability to make nominal bails.
NEWS
May 29, 2015
ONE PIECE of good news this week was the $150,000 grant the MacArthur Foundation gave to the Philadelphia prison system to study ways to shrink the population in city jails. The timing couldn't be better. Council is set to deliberate a bill to purchase a tract of land near the Delaware River to build a new city jail with the stated aim of replacing the city's 90-year-old House of Correction, which houses 1,500 inmates in crowded conditions. Some are protesting the site for the prison - along an increasingly valuable and active stretch of riverfront.
NEWS
October 24, 2014 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Karl Jenkins - also known as hip-hot artist Dice Raw - is standing onstage at the Freedom Theatre as a whirlwind of activity goes on around him. Dancers and actors are to the left as choreographer Rennie Harris busies himself with legwork. Director Ozzie Jones is stage right, consulting writer Phillip S. Brown's script. As Dice Raw, Jenkins deals with this kind of maelstrom regularly. He's the rapping wingman for the Roots and holds down a solo career in hip-hop. But with the 2013 release of the album Jimmy's Back , Raw opened a powder keg of anti-prison rhetoric, one set to explode onstage Friday and Saturday at Freedom, when his performance art/hip-hop musical/dance presentation The Last Jimmy debuts at the North Philadelphia venue.
NEWS
March 30, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer
HUNLOCK CREEK, Pa. - As state House speaker and Democratic leader, Bill DeWeese held forth many nights at Harrisburg's priciest restaurants, dining on prime rib and fine wine on a lobbyist's dime. On a recent afternoon, in a prison 120 miles from the Capitol, DeWeese carefully peeled a handful of spinach leaves from a container, savoring every bite. "I never get salad here," said DeWeese, now inmate KK-1888. Until his downfall in a 2012 corruption case, DeWeese was among the Capitol's most colorful characters and power brokers.
NEWS
May 10, 2013 | Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Former Pennsylvania Gov. George M. Leader, the son of a chicken farmer who was elected to the state's highest office before he turned 40, died yesterday after a brief illness. He was 95. Two grandchildren were at Leader's side when he died at his home at Country Meadows assisted-living center in Hershey, a spokeswoman for the facility said. The center was the first in a network of 10 such facilities that Leader and his wife founded in 1985. A Democrat who was the second-youngest person to be elected Pennsylvania governor, Leader fought to rid government of patronage jobs and improve social services.
NEWS
January 21, 2013 | By Heidi Vogt, Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan - The United Nations said Sunday that Afghan authorities were still torturing prisoners a year after the U.N. first documented the abuse and the Afghan government promised detention reform. The report shows little progress in curbing abuse in Afghan prisons despite a year of effort by the U.N. and international military forces in Afghanistan. The report also cites instances where Afghan authorities have tried to hide mistreatment from U.N. monitors. The slow progress on prison reform has prompted NATO forces to again stop many transfers of detainees to Afghan authorities out of concern that they would be tortured.
NEWS
November 20, 2012
WITH Pennsylvania closing classrooms, canceling general assistance, and still facing a budget deficit, I urge the governor to reconsider his plans to expand Pennsylvania's already-massive prison system. At a recent press conference announcing the passage of HB135 - a component of the Justice Reinvestment legislation aimed at reducing the state's prison population - Gov. Corbett said: "The answer isn't always to build bigger prisons. Sometimes the answer lies in smarter solutions that help us build fewer prisons and better communities.
NEWS
October 26, 2012 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett signed into law Thursday sweeping prison reform legislation aimed at reducing recidivism and lowering the skyrocketing cost of housing the state's inmates. "It's about time we started thinking a little smarter about how we incarcerate people," Corbett said at a news conference. "The answer isn't always building new prisons. " At the heart of the plan, which received bipartisan support in the legislature, is an effort to move inmates out of state prisons where costs are the highest and to help them become productive members of society.
NEWS
October 26, 2012 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett signed into law Thursday sweeping prison-reform legislation aimed at reducing recidivism and lowering the skyrocketing cost of housing the state's inmates. "It's about time we started thinking a little smarter about how we incarcerate people," Corbett said at a news conference. "The answer isn't always building new prisons. " At the heart of the plan, which received bipartisan support in the legislature, is an effort to move inmates out of state prisons where costs are the highest and to help them become productive members of society.
NEWS
September 25, 2012 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - Following a nearly three-month summer break, legislators return Monday to the Capitol, where the burning question will be not what bills they will have time to pass but which ones they won't. High on the priority list for the House and Senate's truncated fall season are charter schools, more corrections reforms, and funding for capital projects. But the big-ticket issues, the ones that keep public policy experts up at night, will largely be left untouched until next year.
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