“The Locks Have Been Severely Compromised”: A Look Inside Philly Prisons



Philly Metro: Jason Peters - July 25, 2021


During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, District Attorney Larry Krasner, alongside state officials, made a strong push to clear out the prison system as much as possible to alleviate potential spread of the deadly virus. Between March and June of 2020, the number of those incarcerated in state prisons declined by 3,471, the largest drop in Pennsylvania’s history in such a short time, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.


Now, those numbers are rising once again.


With courts back in session and the City of Philadelphia returning to a revised version of normalcy, the Philadelphia prison population is increasing closer to pre-COVID figures. According to a recent study by the Vera Institute of Justice, Philadelphia saw a 20 percent increase in inmate population from June 2020 to March 2021.


As of Saturday, there are 4,659 adults incarcerated within the City of Philadelphia, and according to both local corrections officers (COs) and inmates, conditions within prison walls have been deteriorating.


“The new terror spot is RCF,” says David Robinson, the President of Local 159, the union representing Philadelphia corrections officers, referring to Riverside Correctional Facility on State Road. “The doors can open whenever they want… the locks have been severely compromised, with the regular wear and tear.”


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