Quartet plays for inmates at Philadelphia Detention Center

The Philadelphia Orchestra goes to prison — and not for the reason you think

When it comes to getting beyond their usual habitat, the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra will play for aficionados in Carnegie Hall, or, once in a while, far away in Tokyo or Vienna. One day last month, visiting composer Hannibal Lokumbe took a string quartet of orchestra musicians arguably farther afield – into the Philadelphia Detention Center in Northeast Philly’s Holmesburg section.

Kensington church offers bible study, boxing lessons and alternatives to the street

Fists, faith and Rock Ministries: Kensington’s boxing church under the El

You can hear the man from the stairs. He calls out “Xanny! Percs!” as the El above him pulls away. He is thin, wearing a red sweatshirt. A small tattoo is etched above his left cheek. His corner is Somerset and Kensington, in plain view of a SEPTA Transit Police car across the street.

Deaf and incarcerated

In Philly, signing a change in reentry narratives

Yes, quite literally, signing. Reentry is suddenly a hot topic. Google alerts for reentry-related articles pointing to individuals and programs grappling with the challenges encountered by the formerly incarcerated fill my inbox every morning. But even amid the din of suddenly hot topics there are noteworthy silences and near silences.

Motivation and self-affirmation help recently paroled women face the past and prepare for the future

Mothers in Charge grads exchange prison uniforms for caps and gowns

North Philadelphia resident Debra Wilson has donned various forms of attire to signify where she was in life. Her first was the military camouflage of a drill sergeant. Her next was the uniform of a prison inmate. On Wednesday, Wilson joined 11 other women in royal blue caps and gowns for the fourth annual Women Working for a Change graduation ceremony.