A controversial bill has prisons advocates and reformers outraged and ready for action. House Bill 1089 which would require incarcerated persons to pay restitution from any funds on their prison accounts or sent to them by friends, family members and loved ones has been reintroduced by state representative Todd Stephenson (R-Montgomery County).
For the third time this year, Councilman Bobby Henon held a bill Thursday that would allow the city to spend more than $7 million to buy land in Northeast Philadelphia that could be used to replace an aging prison.
City Council urged to decrease jail population and invest in schools, not jail cells
PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 10, 2015) On Thursday, June 11, concerned community members will converge on City Hall to demand that City Council permanently shelve its plan to build a new county jail. They will call on Council to instead take steps to drastically decrease the city’s jail population and direct resources to the city’s severely underfunded school system.
On May 4th, Decarcerate PA and allied organizations will unite on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg to celebrate the overturning of an anti-prisoner law and to protest the ongoing silencing of people in Pennsylvania’s prison system. The 24-hour demonstration will kick off with a rally from 11 AM - 2 PM, at which protesters will share the words of current and former prisoners targeted by anti-speech legislation.
Last year, the Daily News reported that guards at the city-run Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility refused to take inmate Mike Brady to the prison infirmary despite pleas that he was sick. After he collapsed, sources told the paper he was maced by guards and finally dragged in a nearly unconscious state to receive medical attention.
At first glance, you can’t blame Mayor Michael Nutterfor wanting to build a new prison. The House of Correction — which has an awesome name — is super old and doesn’t even have air conditioning. Both the inmates and the staffers deserve better conditions than the facility can provide.
Still: Nutter should hold off. Let the next mayor deal with it, if necessary, but not this year.
They fill our prisons at great expense but do little to improve public safety
By James Young and Waleed Shahid
December 17, 2014
Since 1980, Pennsylvania’s prison population increased sixfold to about 51,000 people, thanks in part to state legislation passed during the frenzy of the failed “War on Drugs.” Bipartisan policies passed in Washington and in state capitals have led the United States to house 25 percent of the world’s prisoners despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population. In Pennsylvania, laws requiring mandatory minimum sentencing have been a primary driver of the skyrocketing numbers of prisoners and the enormously expensive prisons that accompanied their tragic rise.
Philadelphia approved all three of the questions on the ballot, including establishing a permanent Office of Sustainability, creating a Department of Prisons and borrowing $137.3 million for infrastructure improvements.