Nearly 20 years ago, drug addiction derailed the life of an experienced licensed practical nurse, now 60 and living drug-free in Philadelphia’s Mayfair section. “I thank the police department for likely saving my life the night they arrested me,” she wrote in legal papers. “During my time in prison, I decided I was done with drugs.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has reached a settlement with the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania requiring sweeping reforms in the care of inmates with serious mental illness in the state’s prison system. Inmates with serious mental illness or intellectual disabilities no longer will be subject to solitary confinement, according to the terms of the settlement, reached late Monday.
Leroy “Beyah” Edney was 11 the first time he got locked up. Edney was at a Philadelphia rec center when an argument with another kid turned violent. It didn’t turn out so well for the other kid. Edney spent six months at a juvenile detention center as a result.
Joe Davis was born a few weeks before Thanksgiving in 1972, better off than most. His father worked in a chocolate factory. His mother counseled troubled kids and drug addicts. In his crayon-colored memories, he conjures a happy boyhood in Germantown.