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.

Philadelphia prison populations are declining; reformers say more to come

Has a bold reform plan helped to shrink Philly’s prison population?

Back in January, Municipal Court Judge Marsha Neifield was undertaking a radical experiment in criminal-justice reform from the otherwise drab confines of an 11th-floor courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center. There were no major criminal cases on her docket – just addicts, small-time drug dealers, and a man accused of stealing a power drill from inside a car.

Lawmakers introduce Fair Chance Act

Booker, Republicans introduce federal ban-the-box legislation

A little more than a year after Philadelphia expanded its ban-the-box law, which prevents employers from asking about criminal backgrounds until a job offer has been made, federal legislators introduced similar national legislation in Washington. – Jane M. Von Bergen, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News