Less Than Half a Percent of Pennsylvania Prisoners Have Been Granted Emergency Release During the Pandemic
Advocates had hoped Governor Tom Wolf would use his executive reprieve power to release thousands of people from prisons in the face of COVID-19.
Joshua Vaughn May 29, 2020
New York attorneys have launched a campaign to release transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary prisoners during the pandemic.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 28, 2020
Nonprofit Landlords Have Gone The Extra Mile To Support Tenants During The Pandemic. But There’s Trouble Ahead.
Many community development corporations assist not only tenants, but also a wider community of low-income people with a range of social services.
Abigail Savitch-Lew May 27, 2020
Parole Reform Might Have Freed Maryland’s Longest-Serving Incarcerated Woman. Instead, She Was Hospitalized With COVID-19.
Eraina Pretty has served 42 years in prison in connection with a 1978 store robbery. A new law that might have led to her release has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victoria Law May 21, 2020
On the pretext of conducting ‘transnational gang operations,’ ICE raids have swept up thousands of U.S. citizens.
The women are kept in cramped, unsanitary quarters, the suit says, and are not permitted the same job opportunities as men held at the same facility.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 19, 2020
Coronavirus infections climb at the state’s only maximum-security facility for women, and those held there fear for their safety.
Lyra Walsh Fuchs May 18, 2020
Freddy Butler, Oliver Macklin, and Charles Goldblum are among the 17 people who received recommendations for commutations of life sentences in 2019, but Governor Tom Wolf has yet to sign off on their releases.
Jeremy Hix is serving 70 months in federal prison for a sex offense—a conviction that disqualifies him for a Bureau of Prisons home confinement program, despite a health condition that puts him at risk of the coronavirus.
Joshua Vaughn May 14, 2020
The governor’s requirements for release are too narrow in light of the threat from COVID-19, they say.
Bryce Covert May 13, 2020
Some are striking because they can’t afford to pay the rent. Others are striking in protest against what they say is inhumane treatment.
An Erie County judge said the pregnant 20-year-old would be ‘safer’ in jail from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Victoria Law May 11, 2020
Prisoners Who Test Positive For COVID-19 In Connecticut Are Sent To A Notorious Maximum Security Prison
Faculty members of the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Nursing wrote to the governor that sending patients there is “inhumane and ineffective.”
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 08, 2020
Incarcerated people like John Brookins, who is serving life without the possibility of parole, will have to wait until June or later for a chance at clemency.
Joshua Vaughn May 07, 2020
After a man incarcerated in a New Jersey state prison was hospitalized with COVID-19, he said he was handcuffed for 36 hours. The cuffs got tangled in his IV, causing it to rip out, he said. “It was so painful. You have no idea.”
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 05, 2020
Political concerns are slowing efforts to depopulate prisons in the state, advocates say.
Adam Willems May 01, 2020
Prisoners feel like they are ‘sitting ducks,’ said a woman whose boyfriend is incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Lauren Gill Apr 30, 2020
Shot By Police, Then Convicted In A Murder He Says He Didn’t Commit. Now He’s Facing COVID-19 Behind Bars.
The 2015 shooting left Keith Davis Jr. with respiratory issues. His defense attorney says that as he appeals his case he should be freed from prison.
Brandon Soderberg Apr 29, 2020
A woman detained by ICE was sick with COVID-19 for days before being removed from a 50-person jail dorm in York County, Pennsylvania, according to women housed with her.
Joshua Vaughn Apr 27, 2020
Coronavirus Is Ready To Explode Inside Fort Dix Federal Prison, Incarcerated People and Their Loved Ones Say
One prisoner says a man collapsed while waiting for a temperature check and was sprayed down with disinfectant as he lay on the floor. BOP denied it.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Apr 23, 2020
The Bureau of Prisons could send those without homes to alternative halfway houses far from D.C. or back to prison at the end of the month.
‘I would go to the hospital very often and they wouldn’t do anything for me.’
The state’s law enforcement agencies failed to implement a 2018 data-sharing law. Now officials are struggling to identify high-risk people to release from county jails.
Ethan Corey Apr 22, 2020
The city has created the structural conditions that have engendered disproportionately high rates of infection and death among its Black and Latinx residents.
Their proposals move beyond Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 90-day eviction moratorium and call for suspending or forgiving rent payments longer term.
Bryce Covert Apr 21, 2020
‘It seems like Black people are still being criminalized and are not free,’ one organizer said.
Lauren Gill Apr 17, 2020
As Coronavirus Spread, Dozens Of Law Enforcement Agents Raided Virginia Housing Projects Over Alleged Small Drug Deals
Despite distancing warnings, more than 80 state and federal agents fanned out in an anti-drug operation that, The Appeal has learned, was based on a series of retail-level drug sales.
Jerry Iannelli Apr 16, 2020
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
Joshua Vaughn Apr 15, 2020
His attorney says the Suffolk County DA’s office tried to send “an innocent man to his death.”
Advocates say the “progressive” city has left them to die.
Rebecca Chowdhury Apr 14, 2020
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
Joshua Vaughn Apr 10, 2020
A Brooklyn teacher tried three times to get treatment for the coronavirus. Now she’s fighting for her life.
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
Mother Of Slain 4-Year-Old Says Pennsylvania Should Release Death Row Prisoner With COVID-19 Symptoms
Sharon Fahy, whose daughter was murdered in 1988, asked the court to release Walter Ogrod, the man convicted in her killing.
Lauren Gill Apr 09, 2020
Amid COVID-19 Panic, Pennsylvania Republicans Warn Governor Against Taking Executive Action to Release Prisoners
They tell Tom Wolf that taking any unilateral actions to reduce the state’s prison population would endanger public safety.
Twenty-eight people were to attend weeks-long drug treatment programs after violating parole. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly trapped them in jail indefinitely.
District attorneys in the state could decarcerate quickly by dropping unnecessary cases.
Will Isenberg Apr 08, 2020
At the Center of the Coronavirus Pandemic, People Inside NYC Jails Describe Fear, Confusion and a Lack of Supplies
'They're not supplying us with masks, they’re not supplying us gloves, they're not supplying us with decent cleaning supplies.'
The state, which accounts for roughly one-third of all positive COVID-19 cases in the country, is facing a rapid spread of the disease in its jail and prison systems.
Bryce Covert Apr 06, 2020
The emergency program seeks to release a select group of prisoners but does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, experts and Democratic lawmakers say.
Joshua Vaughn Apr 05, 2020
People Held in New York Prison Say They Face Abuse After Guard In Their Unit Tested Positive For COVID-19
Men in Unit B-2 at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility say staff members have harassed and abused them since they possibly came into contact with an infected officer.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Apr 03, 2020
The Office of General Counsel determined that the governor could likely use reprieves to release vulnerable people from prison to control COVID-19’s spread, but the office is advising against it, according to internal emails obtained by The Appeal.
Joshua Vaughn Mar 31, 2020
People held in Bristol County are ‘extremely agitated and panicking’ due to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
New York City Jails Have an Alarmingly High Infection Rate, According to an Analysis by the Legal Aid Society
“Based on this analysis, New York City jails have become the epicenter of COVID-19,” a Legal Aid attorney said.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 26, 2020
“The doctors said they were going to come and do screenings every day, but for the past two days, they’ve just come into the dorm and stood by the front door and yelled, ‘Does anybody have any symptoms?’”
Kim Kelly Mar 25, 2020
“Still no hand sanitizer, no bleach.”
Kim Kelly Mar 24, 2020
The island’s Communicable Disease Unit is already overflowing with quarantined people.
Up to 1,000 people will have their sentences delayed or suspended.
Kira Lerner Mar 23, 2020
Advocates have called on Governor Tom Wolf and state Department of Corrections officials to release elderly and infirm people from state prisons. But the law is limiting how quickly they can move.
While those facing charges appear by video at arraignments, all others—attorneys, officers, the judge—are in the courtroom in close quarters, defense attorneys say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 20, 2020
Rikers Island Physician Voices Coronavirus Fears As Cuomo Meets With Officials Looking To Scuttle Bail Reforms
Late Wednesday, the chief physician at the Rikers jail complex said on Twitter that judges and prosecutors must not leave New York City's jailed population ‘in harm’s way.’
Lauren Gill Mar 19, 2020
Conditions at the Newark jail where the strike is taking place were dire even before the threat of COVID-19.
A man with multiple medical conditions incarcerated on a technical violation urgently needs to be released, his attorney says.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 18, 2020
The Metropolitan Police Department has discussed reducing arrests, but it has not formally announced any policy changes.
The individual had no contact with people in custody for at least the past month, according to the DOC.
Kira Lerner Mar 16, 2020
Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced the state would employ prisoners to make hand sanitizer, must prepare for the particular vulnerabilities of the state’s prison population to COVID-19, advocates say.
Bryce Covert Mar 11, 2020
Rhode Island prosecutors charged nine people with felony distribution of the addiction treatment drug. Reform prosecutors in other states are declining such charges and instead encouraging access to the drug.
Between solidarity actions and political efforts, Jewish communities have a wide range of options to stop antisemitic violence without relying on a criminal legal system that harms communities of color.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Mar 06, 2020
Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Dean Beer and Deputy Chief Keisha Hudson were fired last month after filing an amicus brief critical of the county’s bail setting practices.
Dennis Sica struggled with substance use disorder and sold small amounts of heroin that prosecutors connected to overdose deaths. Because of an 1980s-era federal law, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Jon Campbell Mar 05, 2020
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who once offered prisoners at his jails as laborers to build the border wall, is one of many sheriffs who partners with the agency.
Ella Fassler Mar 04, 2020
Prison-based gerrymandering takes political power away from Black and Latinx communities—power that could be used to push for more funding for schools, social services, infrastructure, and other important reforms.
Robert Saleem Holbrook Mar 02, 2020
Another Reason To End Prison Gerrymandering: To Identify And Invest In Neighborhoods Most Affected By Incarceration
Vaidya Gullapalli Feb 28, 2020
Advocates, formerly incarcerated people, and lawmakers warned against overhauling the New York law before it has a chance to prove itself.
Bryce Covert Feb 26, 2020
A New York Law Could Reduce Sentences for Domestic Violence Survivors. Why Are Judges Reluctant to Apply It?
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act allows judges to consider shorter sentences, as well as non-prison sentences, if abuse factored significantly in the crime.
Victoria Law Feb 24, 2020
At least one error led to a wrongful arrest, according to a Freedom of Information Law request, underscoring the need for better oversight of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, advocates say.
Vaidya Gullapalli Feb 14, 2020
Arthur’s story speaks to a troubling tendency in the legal system, reform advocates say: to treat mental health crises as criminal matters, rather than matters of public health.
An Appeal documentary on life without the possibility of parole—and its impact on loved ones—in the state.
Joshua Vaughn Feb 13, 2020
Baltimore Defense Attorneys Claim Surveillance Plane Footage Contradicts Law Enforcement Account Of Police Shooting
Jawan Richards was shot by Baltimore police and hit with gun and assault charges stemming from the incident. His defense attorneys now say video evidence may exonerate their client.
As old audio clips of Bloomberg defending the controversial policing policy went viral, new data showed the practice isn’t fading away in New York city.
In two articles, the Times asserts a ‘spike’ in crime since the passage of bail reform in New York, an increase that the articles themselves note they can’t prove.
A review of charging dockets in Lebanon County shows Ashley Menser was the only person charged with felony retail theft in 2018 to receive a 7-year maximum sentence.
Vaidya Gullapalli Feb 07, 2020
New Video Of Fatal Shooting By NYPD In 2016 Raises Questions About Officer’s Account to Investigators
A civil suit claims that an officer who shot a 46-year-old stagehand in Midtown Manhattan should have de-escalated the encounter.
A year after Alfonzo Riley returned from prison, he’s helping to vet innocence claims.
Kira Lerner Feb 06, 2020
As Bail Reform Takes Hold Across New York State, a Rural County Wrestles With The Future Of Its Aging Jail
The debate around bail reform focused predominantly on New York City's Rikers Island, but the bigger impact may be upstate, where almost two-thirds of the state’s jail capacity is located.
Ted Alcorn Feb 04, 2020
In a lawsuit, the boy’s family said he was repeatedly suspended, secluded, and violently restrained before he was ever given a special education evaluation.
Despite dire-sounding headlines, the state’s cash bail reforms are having a positive impact on the people they are meant to help.
Bryce Covert Feb 03, 2020
Joe Kennedy III Says He Is Running A Progressive Senate Campaign. But He Worked For One Of The Most Regressive D.A.s In Massachusetts
In his run for president, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been forced to address his consulting past. Kennedy should do the same about his work.
Will Isenberg Jan 31, 2020
A wave of sensationalist press is not just coming from New York City, but also from county sheriff and city police departments frustrated by bail reform that they claim is ‘too broad.’
Adam H. Johnson Jan 27, 2020
State Representative Todd Stephens has introduced a bill to impose a five-year minimum prison sentence for illegally possessing a firearm, but the governor, advocates, and others say it’s the wrong approach.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 23, 2020
Sarah Lustbader Jan 16, 2020
The death of 27-year-old India Cummings in 2016 garnered national media attention and a renewed push by local activists over conditions of confinement in the New York county’s jails. But the deaths haven’t stopped.
The state said Michelle Heale shook the baby to death, but some experts say her conviction was based on debunked science.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jan 15, 2020
New Lawsuit Is Latest Example Of Residents Seeking Accountability For Wrongful Arrests In New York City
Charges in each of four arrests of a city man were subsequently dropped. Now he has become one of a long line of New York City residents who have filed wrongful arrest lawsuits against the city.
Dawn R. Wolfe Jan 14, 2020
The department is targeting communities of color and violating local and federal law by using broad ‘association’ criteria to list people in a gang database, a Rhode Island community organization claims.
Logbooks were seized as part of an inquiry into misconduct allegations against high-ranking officers in the division that investigates sex crimes.
Meg O'Connor Jan 09, 2020
Melinda Katz, who was inaugurated Monday, is facing criticism over what some say is a broken campaign promise.
Aaron Morrison Jan 07, 2020
Five Cases Could Significantly Reform Pennsylvania’s Sex Offense Registry. The State’s Attorney General Is Pushing Back.
Josh Shapiro has warned that changing the state’s sex offense registry requirements threatens public safety. But experts say his fears are unfounded and the registry provides little to no public safety benefit.
Manhattan D.A. Suggests He Nudged The Governor To Fix A Loophole In New York Rape Law. It’s A Bit More Complicated.
Cyrus Vance says he sent Governor Cuomo a letter about the issue in April 2018; Cuomo's office says it never got it. In the intervening months, critics say Vance's messaging on the issue discouraged survivors of rape from coming forward.
Meg O'Connor Dec 23, 2019
Misconduct complaints against officers in the NYPD’s 34th Precinct have risen for three years straight. In 2018, 15 officers had complaints against them substantiated, the most of any precinct in New York City.
Ali Winston Dec 19, 2019
A City Council Committee considers a bill on NYPD surveillance today.
Ali Winston Dec 18, 2019
Boston Law Enforcement Has Been Fighting A Court Order To Release Data On Who Police Target On Snapchat
District Attorney Rachael Rollins ran as a reformer who would work to increase transparency, but her office and the police department have been fighting the order.
Advocates say the removals are more evidence of a troubling and unregulated law enforcement tool, overseen by the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Aaron Morrison Nov 26, 2019
What Does Death By Incarceration Look Like In Pennsylvania? These Elderly, Disabled Men Housed In A State Prison.
More than 5,400 people in the state are sentenced to life without parole. This month, The Appeal went inside one prison that helps provide end-of-life care for men.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 20, 2019
Under the proposal, localities would be incentivized to significantly decrease prison populations.
Kira Lerner Nov 14, 2019
Research shows access to a trauma center is critical after a shooting. But as gun deaths are rising in Philly, one trauma center has closed. Experts say a rise in homicides may prompt more policing.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 12, 2019
Vaidya Gullapalli Nov 07, 2019
A close examination of a poll backed by a business group reveals loaded questions, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and the shortchanging of very real privacy concerns.
New York City Voters May Expand Power of Civilian Review Board, Allowing It to Investigate Police Who Lie
If passed, Question 2 would also allow the board to force police commissioners to provide more insight into disciplinary decisions.
Aaron Morrison Nov 05, 2019
Recent violent arrests in the city subways should make New Yorkers question the push by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA to hire 500 new transit police.
State law must change to stop judges from using jail time to force the poor into paying penalties they can’t afford, says one advocacy group.
Steven Yoder Oct 28, 2019
The New York Post used a tragedy to target bail reform activists, rather than point to the challenges of a failed mental health system and poverty.
Adam H. Johnson Oct 21, 2019
Vaidya Gullapalli Oct 15, 2019
The mayor claims that building new jails is the only safe way to close Rikers Island jail complex, but the City Council shouldn’t fall for this Faustian bargain.
The state is one of eight that allow cops to arraign people on misdemeanor charges. Advocates and academics say the practice is unjust.
Nearly 600,000 New Yorkers Are Eligible to Have Their Records Sealed. Fewer Than 1,800 of Them Have Succeeded.
The results of record-sealing legislation enacted in 2017 shows the need for automatic expungement, advocates say.
Aaron Morrison Oct 08, 2019
The state’s narrow interpretation gives too much weight to voices that support a punitive criminal legal system, advocates say.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 04, 2019
The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund said it doesn’t want to ‘prop up an unjust system.’
Kira Lerner Sep 30, 2019
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 27, 2019
Informants are highly motivated to lie. But jurors don’t always have the information or skills to discern the truth.
Alexandra Natapoff Sep 23, 2019
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has gotten into the surveillance game, but advocates say that raises questions about his role.
Kira Lerner Sep 20, 2019
Vaidya Gullapalli Sep 18, 2019
In a rare case of local media nuance, a Boston TV news station provided a humane and health-focused segment on safe drug use.
Adam H. Johnson Sep 17, 2019
Court records and interviews with former prosecutors show that internal assessments of police dishonesty are rarely memorialized, potentially violating the rights of people charged in criminal cases and sometimes keeping the records of bad cops clean.