Coalition sends workers to factory with industry-recognized certificates earned in jail

What works: In rural Tennessee, ex-offenders get a second chance and a new career

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.

Activists launch efforts to raise community money for bail

Can a Philly community bail fund fix our criminal-justice system?

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

Criminal justice world divided on risk-assessment tools

How computers are predicting crime – and potentially impacting your future

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.

Church provides support for formerly incarcerated

A Fairhill church is redemption central for ex-offenders

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.

People sentenced just after turning 18 are appealing Pa.’s mandatory life sentences

In Philly courts, whether they’ll die in prison comes down to their birthday

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.

 

Pa. senate passes bill to seal some criminal records

Pa. Senate passes first-of-its-kind bill sealing some criminal records

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.

Pa.’s Clean Slate bill was just unanimously passed by the state Senate – Generocity Philly

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.