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.
Retrofitted school buses provide resources, empathy in the Bay Area.
About a year ago, Darryl Booker got a voucher. Booker is 57 and has a chronic heart condition that takes him in and out of the hospital and makes physical activity, including walking up stairs, nearly impossible. When he was released in 2015, “I didn’t have no one,” he says.
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.
While serving what was supposed to be a life sentence in prison, Tyrone Werts was influential in bringing the The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to Graterford Prison. The program brings together college students and people serving time to learn from each other about crime, justice and other social concerns.
Three years ago, in New Castle, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa was at a hearing for a 29-year-old who’d been falling behind on his court bills. If he kept missing the payments he risked ending up in jail, so Lamancusa asked him what was going on. “He said he couldn’t get a job.