WINCHESTER, TENNESSEE – Scott Crago says everyone deserves a second chance. That goes for ex-criminals fresh out of jail. Crago has heard all the tales of heartbreak in rural Tennessee – absent daddies, grannies raising babies, mamas dying young, drinking, drugs and what that all means for folks locked up in the Franklin County jail.
The Philly Community Bail Fund is an effort that’s part protest against a cash-bail system they say unfairly penalizes the poor, and part stopgap until a more permanent change can be made. – Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
For about eight years, Philadelphia’s probation and parole department has used a computer algorithm to rate the riskiness of nearly every offender it oversees. But officials there won’t say what factors the tool weighs, raising questions about transparency. The city plans to create a similar risk assessment tool for use in bail decisions.
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.