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Philadelphia Department of Prisons Extends Hours, But Most Would Still Be Released Without Belonging

Philly Jails Extend Cashier Hours, but Most Inmates Still Would Be Released Without IDs, Cash, or Phones

Pranshu Verma - August 13, 2019

Hours after an Inquirer investigation revealed that the Philadelphia Department of Prisons released nearly three-quarters of its inmates without their IDs, cash, or phones, its commissioner extended cashier’s office hours to 7 p.m. at four of the city’s five jails.

Of the 11,000 people released without belongings at these four jails, Monday’s change would reduce their ranks by only 1 percentage point, from 72% to 71%, according to an Inquirer analysis of a recent year of jail data.

Two Philadelphia City Council members criticized the move as a half-measure.

Commissioner Blanche Carney was unavailable to be interviewed Tuesday. In a statement, she said: “Safety is our first priority. We have been working with the Courts to accelerate the release process and decrease late night releases, and we will continue to modify our cashier hours at each facility accordingly."

Neither she nor her office replied to an Inquirer question about why cashier’s office hours couldn’t be changed to match prisoner intake hours, which take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They did not reply to a question about female prisoners being released at night without their possessions, in apparent violation of its own policy. The newspaper’s analysis of the data from April 2017 to April 2018 found 273 women were discharged after 1 a.m.

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