Penn Study: Trying Kids as Adults Can Reduce Recidivism

Photo |

Photo |

A number of academic studies have found that prosecuting juveniles as adults increases the likelihood that they’ll end up back in the criminal justice system, with recidivism going up as much as 20 percent to 30 percent in such cases. This has led some policymakers to try to raise the age that kids can be tried as adults.

But a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania flips that narrative on its head.

In a paper published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, assistant professor Charles Loeffler and doctoral candidate Ben Grunwald tracked the outcomes of 78,142 felony drug arrests of teenagers. They found that processing these juveniles as adults actually reduced their chances of being arrested or charged again after being released — by a significant amount.

“Processing juveniles who are close to their 17th birthday in the adult system is associated with a roughly 28 percent reduction in the relative odds of rearrest or a 5 percent reduction in the probability of recidivism,” the authors wrote. Read more »

Alice Goffman’s Book on “Fugitive Life” in Philly Under Attack


Last year, Alice Goffman published On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, an adaptation of her dissertation at Princeton. For six years, while a student at Penn and at Princeton, Goffman immersed herself in a Philadelphia neighborhood that she writes is “a lower-income Black neighborhood not far from [Penn’s] campus.” The book is an ethnography of the lives of the young men (and a few women) she hung out with in the neighborhood. She changed names and calls it “6th Street,” to avoid identifying her subjects.

In the book, her subjects are profiled, beaten harassed and tracked by the Philadelphia Police. She writes of police stealing from suspects. She says she witnessed 24 different police raids, including one where she was handcuffed, and four instances of men from 6th Street released from police custody with bloody fingertips.

It was met with massive praise upon release. Goffman, the daughter of esteemed sociologist Erving Goffman and a Philadelphia native who went to the Baldwin School, had already won a major award for her dissertation. Malcolm Gladwell called it “exceptional … devastating.” Cornel West said it was “the best treatment I know of the wretched underside of neo-liberal capitalist America.” The New York Times said it was “a remarkable feat of reporting.”

Goffman, now a professor of sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has recently come under criticism. An anonymous take-down has floated around in academic circles. Northwestern law professor Steven Lubet, in an essay in the online book review site The New Rambler, accused Goffman of being “an accomplice in the evident commission of a major felony,” as well as getting facts wrong about policing in Philadelphia. Read more »

Male Penn Grad Says He Was Sexually Assaulted After 2013 Phi Kappa Psi Party

Photo by Hayley Virgil

Reginald Stewart says he was assaulted after attending a rush party at Phi Kappa Psi in 2013. Photo | Hayley Virgil

Recent University of Pennsylvania graduate Reginald Stewart has sued Penn’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity as well as fraternity brother Charles Gibson over a January 2013 incident in which he claims Gibson sexually assaulted him. Read more »

Former Penn Official: Admissions Practices at Elite Universities Hurt Asian Americans

diploma college

A former admissions official at the University of Pennsylvania says the admissions practices of elite universities often discriminate against Asian Americans.

The charge was made in an L.A. Times op-ed today by Sara Harberson, identified as “the former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania and the former dean of admissions and financial aid at Franklin & Marshall College” in Lancaster, Pa.

While Asian-Americans often meet the requirements for admission, she wrote, they often lack a “tag” that compels the university to admit them — and that instead “racial stereotyping, money, connections and athletics” often become determining factors. Read more »

Penn Named to “Most Stressful” List


Penn is one of America’s “most stressful” universities, College Magazine says in a new ranking.

The Ivy League university ranks 10th on the magazine’s list.

“Hey, you know that guy on the back of the hundred dollar bill? Benjamin Franklin? Well, he just so happens to be the founder of UPenn,” the magazine opines. “Coincidentally, if you go here you’re bound to need tons of Benjamins to pay for tuition alone, which is a staggering $43,838. If you’re one of the lucky 43 percent who receive financial aid then you shouldn’t have a problem. But the other 57 percent? Good luck. Oh, yeah, it’s also one of the most crime-riddled colleges—yikes. As if getting accepted wasn’t stressful enough. The application process involves two teacher evaluations, essays, a counselor letter AND an interview. Stressed yet? You should be.” Read more »

Timothy Hamlett’s Body Found in Hudson River

Inviting you to share the life of Timothy Akil Hamlett.

Posted by Missing Timothy Hamlett on Monday, June 1, 2015

The body of Timothy Hamlett, a Penn track star missing since December, was found in New York’s Hudson River over the weekend.

“On Monday afternoon, Katherine Hamlett confirmed that her son, former Penn junior Timothy Hamlett, had been found dead on Friday in the Hudson River. She said she believes her son jumped from the George Washington Bridge, committing suicide,” the Daily Pennsylvanian reports.

“We never had any indication that our son was suicidal at all. It is important to me that people do know that this is what he did,” Hamlett told the paper. “I don’t want to sweep it under the rug and avoid the reality of how he died.” Read more »

Wharton Employee Sues Penn Over Million-Dollar Invention



In 1993, Paul Ratnaraj, an information systems specialist at Wharton, helped to create a major database tool that made business research much easier. Called Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), it simplified the collection and research of financial data. The system currently houses more than 200 terabytes of searchable data in sectors like accounting, finance and banking, according to the Wharton website, and is used by 30,000 clients in 33 countries.

Twenty-two years later, Ratnaraj is suing the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania for royalties for his role in creating WRDS. Ratnaraj claims in court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that Penn has a policy that entitles him and three other co-inventors to royalties of 30 percent if the technology has been licensed to third-party entities. Read more »

10 Most Profitable Hospitals in Philly Region


In 2014, the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania was the highest-grossing hospital in the Philadelphia area (and the state of Pennsylvania) with $380 million in net income and almost $2.4 billion in revenue. In fact, it earned 28 percent more income than any other local institution and its revenues were 30 percent higher.

The numbers come from a new report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an independent state agency.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ranked second in revenue at $1.8 billion and second in net income at $223 million.

Read more »

Penn Researcher Identifies New Dinosaur

Two Saurornitholestes sullivani raptors attacks a subadult hadrosaur Parasaurolophus tubicen. | Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

Two Saurornitholestes sullivani raptors attacks a subadult hadrosaur Parasaurolophus tubicen. | Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

A University of Pennsylvania doctoral researcher has identified a previously unknown species of dinosaur — a member of the velociraptor family that was probably particularly good at sniffing out its prey. Read more »

Three Quotes That Suggest Penn Alum Elon Musk Doesn’t Fully Understand Humans Yet

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with members of the media at Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with members of the media at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, April 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Penn alum Elon Musk has always seemed a bit out there — literally: The Tesla and SpaceX founder has long cast his eyes to the stars. But now there’s a new biography of him being published next week — Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future — and the early reviews suggest it portrays Musk as … well, let’s say, not fully comprehending the humans that he lives among.

Three examples:  Read more »

« Older Posts