Kenney’s Big Plan to Slash Philly’s Bloated Prison Population

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

A month ago, 22-year-old Kalief Browder committed suicide at his parent’s house in New York City. When Browder was 16 years old, he was charged with stealing a man’s backpack. A judge set his bail at $3,000, but his family didn’t have the money, and he spent the next three years in jail. He languished in solitary confinement for two of them. The charges were eventually dropped.

Activists have seized on Browder’s story as proof that the criminal justice system is fundamentally broken and bail should be overhauled. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced a plan aimed at ending cash bail for some defendants.

Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s presumptive next mayor, is thinking about proposing a similar overhaul here. Read more »

The Brief: Can Philly Reduce Its Prison Population?

1. The city won a $150,000 MacArthur Grant to tackle mass incarceration.

The gist: Philadelphia is one of 20 jurisdictions that has been selected by the MacArthur Foundation to develop a plan to reduce its prison population. Next year, the nonprofit will pick 10 areas to receive a second round of grants worth between $500,000 and $2 million.  Read more »

First Photos of Teresa Giudice in Prison Surface

teresa giudice prison

For the first time, the world is getting a peek into the much-less-glamorous new life of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice. The table-flipping reality show personality has been serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut since January. She was sentenced to 15 months after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Us Weekly has photos of Giudice and her family in the visitation room at FCI. The pic shows her sporting shorter, curly hair, a green prison jumpsuit, and a lot less makeup than we’re used to see her wearing on TV. More from the Us Weekly piece:

Read more »

3 Reasons Mayor Nutter Shouldn’t Build That New Prison

At first glance, you can’t blame Mayor Michael Nutter for wanting to build a new prison. The House of Correction — which has an awesome name — is super old and doesn’t even have air conditioning. Both the inmates and the staffers deserve better conditions than the facility can provide.

Still: Nutter should hold off. Let the next mayor deal with it, if necessary, but not this year.

Why? Three reasons: Read more »

Jailed for Gay Play?

In Uganda, authorities would like to see gay people not only jailed, but also put to death. So in a way, British producer David Cecil got off easy. Because he produced a play about the challenges that gay people face in the African country – in the African country – he could spend upwards of two years in jail.

According to reports from CNN, Cecil has already spent a few days in detention, but has been released on bail. This is because after being ordered to not stage the play, he did it anyway, not only bringing attention to LGBT issues in Uganda, but also pointing out the disparities of even talking about these issues in public.

Uganda has some of the more harsh laws governing gay issues in the world – people are not allowed to do it or talk about it. In recent years, the government has even tried to establish laws calling for the death penalty for those found to be gay or having participated in gay sex. But the law didn’t pass when world leaders threatened to boycott the country. This isn’t to say they won’t re-introduce it. Many supporters say they will do so in the next year or two.

Interestingly, Cecil’s play, “The River and the Mountain,” features an all-Ugandan cast, and tells the story of a gay businessman killed by his employees.