After serving their time, today’s inmates will return to their homes and community. In essence, prison health becomes public health, said Hannah Zellman, program director with Philadelphia FIGHT, the nonprofit that hosted Wednesday’s “Beyond the Walls: Prison Healthcare and Reentry Summit.” The annual summit began as a tiny conference focused on the intersection of HIV/AIDS and incarceration.
Debi Smith is on a mission. It began four years ago, in March 2013, when she dropped her son off at a halfway house in North Philadelphia following his release from state prison. It was supposed to be a short stay. Maurice “Reese” Ingersoll had struggled for years with mental illness and substance abuse issues.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon, shortly after school has let out, in one of Philadelphia’s most notorious neighborhoods: Nicetown. Over the last 30 days, more violent crimes have occurred here, home to 18,000 Philadelphians, than in any other neighborhood.
When Haneef Salaam walked out from behind the blue curtain of the polling booth at Crestview Apartments in Wilmington Tuesday morning poll workers cheered and congratulated him. For years he couldn’t vote because he owed more than $100 in judicial fees related to drug charges, for which he served time between 1999 and 2004.
A school bus driver turned away from a job as a SEPTA bus operator because of a drug conviction dating back nearly 20 years filed a federal lawsuit against the transit agency Wednesday. – Jane M. Von Bergen, Philadelphia Inquirer