One reason for the increase in graduation rates among students with juvenile justice involvement is the availability of more options to get these students back on a path to securing their diplomas. About 10 years ago, initiatives regarding re-engagement of at-risk youth became a top priority for Philadelphia – and for good reason.
(Screenshot) If we want to reconcile the socioeconomic consequences of mass incarceration, we can’t ignore the cyclical nature of the environments we’re sending formerly incarcerated individuals back into. Those environments – produced by generations of marginalization – harness a nearly inescapable gravitational pull that victimize the people who live within them.
For 16 years, Ben Lerner has been a witness to almost every horror Philadelphians have perpetrated against each other. As the Common Pleas Court judge in charge of what is euphemistically called the “homicide calendar room,” Lerner has heard and ruled on every pretrial motion in thousands of homicides before “spinning” the cases to one of the nine judges who only preside over murder trials.
Recently, Earl Rice Jr., an inmate at Graterford Prison, got unexpected news from a relative: A judge had unceremoniously changed his sentence from life without parole to life with parole. Chester County Court Judge James MacElree later explained: “That’s what the Supreme Court of the United States said I had to do.