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Philadelphia Jails Commit to Releasing All Returning Citizens with Their Belongings

After Inquirer Probe, Philly Jails Will Release Prisoners Earlier and with All of Their Belongings

Pranshu Verma - August 26, 2019

"Two weeks after an Inquirer investigation revealed that the Philadelphia Department of Prisons released nearly three-quarters of people from jail without their IDs, cash, or phones, the department has announced it will allow incarcerated people to be discharged earlier in the evening and with all of their belongings.

“Anyone released after the close of their facility’s Cashier’s Office will now receive their property at their facility,” Prison Commissioner Blanche Carney wrote in a letter to the editor published Monday in The Inquirer.

In Philadelphia’s jail system, Cashier’s Offices store people’s belongings while they are incarcerated.

At least one observer was impressed by the announced change.

“This is a good example of a system listening and responding in a way that looks like it will make a big difference,” said Ann Jacobs, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

An Inquirer analysis of data revealed that 73% of people — or nearly 16,000 prisoners — were released after the Cashier’s Office had closed, leaving them without identification, cash, phone, or other possessions for hours or even days.

Hours after that analysis was published, Carney announced that the department would extend Cashier’s Office hours until 7 p.m. at four of the city’s five jails.

By itself, that would have reduced the number of people released without their valuables by only 1%, an Inquirer analysis revealed.

The procedures announced Monday are more comprehensive."

To read more, click here.

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