The sanctuary of Christ Centered Church is a small and spare 65-seater in a storefront in Philly’s Fairhill section, more than packed on Sundays for sermons and Bible studies that empathize with the members’ challenges without excusing the life choices they’ve made.
Juvenile lifers are getting a chance at release under a Supreme Court decision that their sentences were illegal. Now, appeals by 18-, 19- and 20-year-old lifers who say they, too, should get relief have begun to reach the state’s highest court.
In the fractured state of the commonwealth that is Pennsylvania, a first-of-its-kind bill that would seal criminal records for minor offenses passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday. “Unanimous,” crowed Community Legal Services employment attorney Sharon Dietrich, punctuating her email with three exclamation points. Dietrich has long advocated for this type of legislation.
The state Senate voted unanimously yesterday in favor of a bill that would seal misdemeanor records after 10 years. The legislation would only apply to those who avoided other convictions for at least 10 years. It’s a big win for criminal justice reform advocates like Sharon Dietrich, litigation director of Community Legal Services.
The court ruled that there is a presumption against life sentences for juveniles – and that, in order to sentence a minor to life, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is incapable of rehabilitation. – Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
Imagine if you offered a tax credit and nobody applied for it? That’s what happened in Philadelphia. Since 2008, the city has offered companies a $10,000 per year tax credit if they hired people with records. Few took it. Now the city’s trying something different.
Philadelphia has a new initiative designed to put cash on the table instead of tax credits for city businesses that hire people with criminal records. Mayor Jim Kenney is urging businesses to take advantage of it. “There’s a lot of smart decent people there who took a wrong turn maybe can’t make bail,” he said Wednesday.
How Philly is revitalizing a widely unused tax credit program for hiring returning citizens – Generocity Philly
As it’s been made clear time and time again, finding a job is one of the most important factors that help those returning from prison to find success and avoid the hugely consequential problem of recidivism Philly is trying to tackle.
The situation with her son is pushing Cassandra Barnett to despair. Last week, she quit her job; she was no longer able to make it through the workday without breaking down. The reason: She’d been told her son was in segregation at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC) — the adult jail that contains a separate cell block for teens charged as adults and awaiting trial.