Philadelphia city officials and local leaders discuss social justice during DNC

10 ideas from local leaders that might move criminal justice reform forward – Generocity Philly

(Photo by Tony Abraham) In Philadelphia, a recent $3.5 million MacArthur Foundation grant aims to reduce the city’s staggeringly high prison population by 34 percent. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth is pursuing an innovative new funding strategy to cut recidivism rates while protecting taxpayers’ coinpurses.

From Graterford to grants, El Sawyer has used his past to affect others’ future

Bobbing and Weaving Through A Minefield

When El Sawyer was 17 years old, he was sentenced to 8 years in Graterford prison for a drug-related shooting. At night, he lay awake in his cell, in fear of a rotating string of cellmates in the bunk above him, thinking about what went on in the prison-the stabbings, killings, suicide, depression, and anger.

Arthur Johnson wants out of solitary confinement, where he has served the last 37 years

Solitary inmate: ‘I done forgot how it feels to touch another person . . .’

FRACKVILLE, Pa. – On a warm morning last week, couples were hugged up on comfy sofa chairs and buying snacks and soft drinks from vending machines. Happiness was everywhere, despite the setting: the visiting room at one of Pennsylvania’s maximum-security prisons, the State Correctional Institute – Frackville.

Therapists and counselors need relief too

Tips on fighting ‘compassion fatigue’ in the helping professions

Derik Moore’s job defined stressful. When he worked as a Philadelphia Department of Human Services investigator, he was the one who talked to children who had been abused, sometimes sexually, and confronted their abusers. – Jane M. Von Bergen, Philadelphia Inquirer

After 37 years in solitary confinement, inmate seeks to rejoin general population in prison

After 37 years, inmate pleads for end to solitary confinement

HARRISBURG – The question for convicted murderer Arthur Johnson seemed simple: Could he explain what his days are like, from the moment he wakes to the time he drifts off to sleep, in the 7-by-12-foot prison cell where he has spent nearly 37 years in solitary confinement?

A $10K grant pairs female inmates with shelter dogs for training program

Female inmates help train shelter dogs with $10K grant

It may have been her pronounced underbite that kept Sparky from getting adopted. But now, the mixed-breed rescue is about to become a service dog. New Leash on Life, which pairs adoptable shelter dogs with prison inmates, just received a $10,000 grant earmarked for female prisoners from The Transition Network, a group of professional women, through its fund at The Philadelphia Foundation, the group announced.