In major criminal justice reform, Pennsylvania becomes first state in nation to seal minor misdemeanors

In major criminal justice reform, Pennsylvania becomes first state in nation to seal minor misdemeanors

It was a motley crew of lawmakers that gathered two years ago to first bring up the idea of a bill to give people who have committed misdemeanors or lesser crimes a fresh start after paying their dues to society.

“Two Republicans from Central Pennsylvania, two Democrats from Philadelphia — what could we possibly have in common,” Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), one of those members, asked. “But we made it work.”

Thursday, June 28, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
New caucus, legislation in works as Democratic representatives react to police shooting

New caucus, legislation in works as Democratic representatives react to police shooting

In light of the police shooting last week of Antwon Rose Jr. and the overall tallies of, in particular, black people killed by police, a group of Democratic legislators gathered Monday to call for a package of policing reform bills.

Including Allegheny County representatives Ed Gainey, Austin Davis and Jake Wheatley, as well as Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia), the lawmakers pushed for reform to restore the faith of communities of color in police.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Prison closure bill primed for amendments after House hearing

Prison closure bill primed for amendments after House hearing

Legislation to add procedures as to how public safety buildings are shuttered has worked its way through the General Assembly, and House State Government Committee focused on it at a hearing Monday.

SB 748, from Sen. David Argall (R-Schuykill), and its companion HB 1606 from Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-Lycoming), would require 12-months’ written notice to local and state officials before a prison or state police building is closed down.

Monday, June 18, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Greenleaf bills to fund probation and parole enforcement through cuts to prison population move ahead

Greenleaf bills to fund probation and parole enforcement through cuts to prison population move ahead

Three bills meant to get low level criminals out of jail and use the cost savings for the state’s stressed parole and probation system passed the Senate unanimously this week.

SB 1070, 1071 and 1072, all sponsored by criminal justice crusader Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), were the second round of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) reforms, the first of which passed in 2012.

Friday, April 27, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
As Governor prepares to sign criminal justice bill, sights turn to future reform

As Governor prepares to sign criminal justice bill, sights turn to future reform

With one bill waiting for a signature, another waiting for tinkering in the Senate and Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) on his side, Governor Tom Wolf announced his desire to push criminal justice reforms through the legislature Thursday.

The proposed agenda includes state funding for public defenders, building a standardized risk assessment tool for judges assigning bail and a “clean slate” law to help minor criminals clear their records and rejoin society.

Friday, April 13, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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