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Lawmakers in Pennsylvania Must Go Further in Reform of Occupational Licensing Laws Currently Disadva

Lindsey Stroud - November 26, 2019 Legislation would prevent boards and commissions from automatically denying licenses based on criminal histories, but the Commonwealth should further reform some burdensome regulations imposed on certain occupations. As several states address criminal justice reform and recidivism, Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a policy change to the Commonwealth’s occupational licensing laws, which currently forbid ex-offenders from attaining certain licenses. An estimated one in three American adults have a criminal record. In Pennsylvania, approximately 4 to 5 percent of adult residents had a felony conviction as of 2010. Access to steady employment is necessary

Fruits of the Family Table Looks to Hire Case Manager

Fruits of the Family Table, FOTFT is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit who aims to restore the family unit, by addressing the areas of substance use disorders, parenting, senior care and (re)integration, with the use of therapeutic services, education, community events, mentorship and advocacy, we at FOTFT (Fruit of the Family Table). We envision a Delaware and Philadelphia county in which all communities are free from the plagues that bound them in the areas of substance use, mass incarceration, parenting and abuse/neglect of the aging. As Fruits of the Family Table continues to expand, we are seeking an experienced Re-entry Case Manager to work a 6-9-month program with men and women in an employment tra

CJI FreeHer Fund Requesting Proposals from Eligible Women Led Grassroots Organizations Working to En

The CJI FreeHer Fund is requesting proposals from eligible grassroots organizations led by women and girls working to end mass criminalization and incarceration of women and girls. CJI’s FreeHer Funding Circle is a partnership with The National Council of Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. The FreeHer Fund will support grassroots organizing that is based in awareness of the current political environment’s hostility toward the rights of women and girls; is led by women and girls directly impacted by the criminal legal system; and is working to restore or expand the rights of currently and/or formerly incarcerated women and girls. The maximum grant request amount is $25,000.

Community Members Gather to Collaborate with City Council's Special Committee on Poverty Reducti

Philadelphia City Council’s Special Committee on Poverty Reduction and Prevention Pitches Its Social Safety Net to Community Members Nigel Thompson - November 19, 2019 On Nov. 18, some 30 community members from across the city gathered at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on Broad Street to collaborate with subcommittee leaders of Philly City Council’s Special Committee on Poverty Reduction and Prevention on providing Philadelphians with a better social safety net. Committee co-chair Eva Gladstein defined the social safety net as “a collection of services and support to ensure that all Philadelphians are healthy, have the basic building blocks for economic mobility and are well position

Defender Association of Philadelphia Launches Pre-Entry Coalition Initiative

Coalition Aims to Support People Who Are Arrested Afea Tucker - November 20, 2019 The Defender Association of Philadelphia launched its Pre-Entry Coalition initiative at the Bonnell Auditorium at Community College of Philadelphia on Thursday. The coalition is a network of community-based organizations united to serve as a system of support for people who have been arrested. According to the Defender Association, about 45 percent of arrests in Philadelphia result in no conviction, and four of every 10 people convicted are not sentenced to prison. The pre-entry system and coalition aims to address the root causes of behavior, give the communities most impacted by crime and mass incarceration a

After Serving 27 Years in Prison, James Hough is the DA's New Artist in Residence

He Spent 27 Years in Prison Making Murals He’d Never See Finished. Now, He’s the Philly DA’s Artist-In-Residence. Samantha Melamed - November 21, 2019 For nearly two decades, James Hough painted sections of murals that would splash color, bold imagery and messages of resilience, healing and hope across more than 50 blank or blighted walls across Philadelphia. But Hough — who was serving a life sentence at the State Correctional Institution-Graterford — never saw the finished artwork. Each square of parachute cloth he painted was sent out into the world. He saw the finished product only in photographs sent to him by Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice program. Then, the U.S. Supreme

Gov. Tom Wolf Urges Lawmakers to Reform PA Probation System

Gov. Tom Wolf Urges Lawmakers to Reform PA Probation System Ron Southwick - November 18, 2019 Gov. Tom Wolf is urging lawmakers to revamp Pennsylvania’s probation system so that people can get a fair chance at improving their lives. The issue of probation reform has gained growing bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Lawmakers are weighing measures to reduce the length of probation sentences and create incentives that would allow people to shorten their sentences if they stay out of trouble. At a press conference in the state Capitol Monday, the Democratic governor pushed lawmakers to get a bill to his desk. “Punishment should fit the crime,” Wolf said Monday. “Punishment should not b

PA Will Stop Keeping People on Death Row in Indefinite Solitary Confinement

Katie Meyer - November 18, 2019 Conditions in state prison are changing dramatically for the 136 people sitting on death row in Pennsylvania, thanks to a settlement the Department of Corrections made Monday with the American Civil Liberties and several other inmates’ rights groups. For many years, the prison system has held death-row inmates in permanent solitary confinement, which meant staying in a cell for up to 23 hours per day, seven days a week. ACLU attorney Vic Walczak, who helped bring the suit against the Department of Corrections, said he could clearly see the effects of that policy on visits to the cell blocks where those inmates are housed. For instance, he said he saw many of t

Governor Wolf Urges Reform to Probation

‘Punishment Should Not be Endless.’ Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Urges Lawmakers to Reform Probation. Ron Southwick - November 18, 2019 Gov. Tom Wolf is urging lawmakers to revamp Pennsylvania’s probation system so that people can get a fair chance at improving their lives. The issue has growing bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Lawmakers are weighing measures to reduce the length of probation sentences and create incentives that would allow people to shorten their sentences if they stay out of trouble. At a news conference in the state Capitol Monday, the Democratic governor pushed lawmakers to get a bill to his desk. “Punishment should fit the crime,” Wolf said Monday. “Punishment

How a Philly Neighborhood, Where Almost Everyone Has Loved Ones in Prison, Is Bridging the Divide

Samantha Melamad - November 18, 2019 Tyreek Dekeyser has been home from prison just 13 months, so he still remembers how it felt to receive letters and photographs from the outside — or, more often, not to receive them. That’s why Dekeyser, who goes by Reek, keeps a handwritten list of nearly 50 names, inmate numbers, and addresses, and writes to each regularly, sending snapshots of home in words and images. “He’s home,” Dekeyser said, tracing his finger down a sheet of loose-leaf paper and explaining each connection. “Childhood friend. Cousin. Met him inside. Family member. Met him inside.” On Sunday, Dekeyser invited his North Philadelphia neighborhood to join in this labor, hosting a port

Inquirer Investigates 1,200 Individuals in PA Serving Life Without Parole Sentences Who Never Took a

Why 1,200 People Who Never Took a Life Are Condemned to Die in Pa. Prisons. | Editorial Life without parole is a punishment supposedly kept only for those beyond redemption, whose crimes are so heinous that they should never be part of society again. Under Pennsylvania law, anyone committing a premeditated murder -- first degree -- falls into that category. However, so do those who were an accomplice in a felony that lead to someone’s death. For them, state law mandates life without parole. One of those accomplices is George Trudel Jr. When he was 20 years old, he held a knife before it was used by someone else in a fatal stabbing The actual assailant was convicted of third-degree murder --

La Colombe Hosting Event on Mass Incarceration

Hope & Fury: Incarceration - Free the Innocent La Colombe's Hope & Fury concert series returns for an evening of music and discussion of mass incarceration, created to inspire change through important issues and hard conversations within the current political landscape. Date And Time Fri, November 22, 2019 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST Location La Colombe Fishtown Cafe 1335 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19125 Featuring the mind of: District Attorney of Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, one of Philadelphia’s most outspoken and highly regarded progressive attorneys. For 30 years he has been fearlessly demanding fair treatment and justice for Philadelphians of all backgrounds. Larry stands up for immigr

Looking to Connect Fatherhood Services Program to Reentry Programs

The Maternal Child Family Health Division (MCFH) at PDPH is currently seeking connections to the reentry community and programs. The MCFH division has launched a fatherhood services program; connecting Philly’s fathers with programs focused on the needs of fathers and connecting these programs to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. MCFH works to supplement the programs offered by these fatherhood programs. They are looking to connect these programs with services that can help and support fathers who are also a part of the reentry community. Please contact Harry Levant; 215-686-5200; harry.levant@phila.gov.

Looking for Partners to Help Identify Community Priorities for New Legal Clinic Dedicated to Collate

The Sheller Center at Temple Law is launching a new legal clinic intended to address the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal legal system. The clinic defines collateral consequences expansively, as any detriment – aside from an adjudicated criminal sentence – that arises from an interaction with law enforcement or the legal system. We are seeking community partners, both legal and non-legal, to help us identify community priorities around those issues. There is also a possibility of the clinic being able to engage in direct client representation on collateral consequences issues. We also seek partners for community education programming. Please contact Shanda Sibley; 215-204

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