Obama’s DOJ to Release 6,000 Prisoners
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here is what you need to know today.
Last July, President Obama visited Philly and called for transformation of the criminal justice system. Now he’s following through — by releasing 6,000 federal prisoners.
“Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we’ve got to do something about it,” Obama said in Philly. Now, the Washington Post reports, his Justice Department is going to release 6,000 prisoners “to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders who received harsh sentences over the past three decades.” A change in sentencing guidelines could result in early releases for 46,000 of the nation’s drug offenders.
Prison will be increasingly reserved for violent offenders, instead. “I think you can send the correct message which is – illegal drug use won’t be tolerated,” Sen. Bob Casey told the Sinclair Broadcast Group. “But at the same time we’ve got to make sure we have the resources to track down and to incarcerate the most violent members in our society.”
Philadelphia Police are offering a $20,000 reward to help solve Kiesha Jenkins’ murder.
Jenkins, 22, is reportedly the 20th transgender person killed in the United States this year, and the case has drawn national attention. Her death comes just days before the fifth annual Philly Trans* March. About 1,000 people, including members of Jenkins’ family, are expected to participate.
“March organizer and longtime transgender activist Deja Lynn Alvarez is concerned that the anger over Jenkins’ murder will boil over during what is intended to be a peaceful event,” NewsWorks reports. “The idea behind this march is to bring visibility,” Alvarez said. “If we go out there and start acting outlandishly, we’re not going to get positive recognition.”
The School Reform Commission and City Council have smoothed the way for future City Hall support of Philadelphia schools.
Under a new deal, the SRC will share more information with Council about its operations: Supt. William Hite said the school district will now share quarterly financial reports with City Hall.
“The agreement doesn’t expressly free-up $25 million in new city money that Council has been withholding from the School District — but it goes a long way toward doing that. Council President Darrell Clarke says the deal grew from the annual tensions when the district made its funding requests,” KYW reports. “We needed to have some understanding between the parties involved that we were going to do things differently,” said Clarke.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s new tax proposal went down in flames Wednesday.
All the Republicans in the Pennsylvania House voted against the plan to raise personal and gas drilling taxes, WTAE reports. But so did nine Democrats. Which means officials must now return to the drawing board in resolving the state’s three-month-old budget impasse. “It is time to get about the business of getting this done,” Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said at the conclusion of the debate. “It’s time to take ideas and formulate them and put them together and build a better future.”
NBC’s Tamron Hall will replace Bill Cosby on the Temple Board of Trustees.
Hall, 45, is a 1992 graduate of Temple University — and host of the third hour of the Today show. “The appointment is significant on multiple fronts: The 36-member board, like many other university boards, has been under pressure to appoint more women,” the Inquirer reports. “She will be Temple’s fourth.” Last December, Temple Board Chair Patrick O’Connor responded angrily to Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo for raising the question of female representation on the board.
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