With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

Legislators have made clear their intentions to continue efforts to trim Pennsylvania’s prison population, pointing to cost savings and the need to make the state’s criminal justice system more equitable.

But despite several major criminal justice reform measures already being introduced, the General Assembly is still in the early stages of charting its course forward on the matter. While none of the bills have gotten hearings as of yet, lawmakers have their sights set on altering the state’s probation system, moving away from cash bail and updating a major criminal justice law already on the books.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Bipartisan group of lawmakers pushes for Pennsylvania to join other states in reforming probation guidelines

Bipartisan group of lawmakers pushes for Pennsylvania to join other states in reforming probation guidelines

Mirroring bipartisan efforts in over 30 other states, lawmakers from both parties unveiled a bill aimed at reducing the number of Pennsylvanians on probation Monday at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 14 would standardize guidelines issued to county probation officers as to what constitutes a technical parole violation. It would also aim to curb those technical violations, cap the total length of probation ordered for a defendant and allow termination of parole for those who demonstrate good behavior.
Monday, January 28, 2019/Author: The PLS Reporter
New prison mail policy sparks lawsuit from ACLU, advocates

New prison mail policy sparks lawsuit from ACLU, advocates

While the president may have received mixed reviews for his claim that “attorney client privilege is now a thing of the past,” civil rights advocates are backing up Pennsylvania inmates on the same concern with legal action.


Two lawsuits were filed against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections this week by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a Philadelphia law firm, and three criminal justice reform groups. The lawsuits are in response to a new policy that resulted from the 12 day long September prison lockdown.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Statute of limitations negotiations near finish line as arguments over sovereign immunity continue

Statute of limitations negotiations near finish line as arguments over sovereign immunity continue

A compromise on the General Assembly’s statute of limitations bill is due the end of this week and will be officially announced next week, according to Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks).

Rozzi has been meeting privately with Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) for the past few weeks to negotiate the language in closed door discussions.

However, multiple lawmakers expressed their certainty that the bill would pass before the elections, adding to next week’s final push by both chambers to move legislation ahead of Nov. 6.
Thursday, October 11, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Domestic abuser firearm restrictions awaits Wolf's signature

Domestic abuser firearm restrictions awaits Wolf's signature

After two years of pushing for a bill to restrict domestic abusers access to firearms, Deb Marteslo, Pennsylvania lead for Moms Demand Action, was nervous before the last barrier to the governor’s desk — a final floor vote in the state Senate.

“We’ve been stymied so many times, I wasn’t allowing myself to think it’s a done deal,” Marteslo said.

But by a 43-5 bipartisan vote, the senators approved HB 2060, which mandates convicted domestic abusers give up their guns within 24 hours of a final protection from abuse order and limits who can hold onto them for safe keeping Wednesday.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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