Samantha reports on social justice, criminal justice and the lives of Philadelphians, from the streets, the prisons and the bars.

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A simple intervention after arrest cut recidivism in Philly. It ended because of alleged police harassment.

Philadelphia’s first “bail advocates” reduced new arrests and bail violations and correlated with better case outcomes, including acquittals and lighter sentences.

What do coronavirus court closures mean for the right to a speedy trial?

In Montgomery County, with 13 presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, court officials have instituted emergency measures to curb traffic into the bustling county courthouse in Norristown: canceling jury trials and many other hearings through March 27 and conducting some hearings by video.

Philly police use of Clearview AI was just 'a test’ — but facial recognition is already here

The investigative applications are numerous, police said. But for civil-rights advocates, it’s also a new frontier of concern.

Four overdoses, including three deaths, in custody trigger Philadelphia prisons investigation

The deaths bring the number of fatal overdoses within Philadelphia jails to nine people in three years.

Fired Montco defenders faced threats for advocating reforms, emails show

Emails that ricocheted among the defenders, judges, and county officials paint a picture of judges and county staff pressuring the defenders to tone down their advocacy.

Six Philly police were quietly fired, charged with abuse last year. Many will likely get their jobs back

The Philadelphia Police disciplinary code does not list domestic violence as a punishable offense.

Like being ‘an enslaved person’: Why former prisoners are suing Pennsylvania over ‘prison gerrymandering’

"It was reminiscent ... of what it was like to be an enslaved person. You couldn’t vote. Yet, your body was counted to create power within small rural counties that otherwise would not receive the representation.”

Montgomery County has fired its top two public defenders

Montgomery County’s top public defenders, chief Dean Beer and deputy chief Keisha Hudson, were fired Wednesday and replaced. Officials said the decision was made by the county’s Board of Commissioners, which oversees all department heads in the county.

Philly’s ban on recording bail hearings is unconstitutional, federal judge says

A judge agreed with the Philadelphia Bail Fund, finding that current practices are “unconstitutional under the First Amendment insofar as they prohibit the public to audio-record bail hearings.”

Federal commission highlights harms and civil rights violations for women in prison

“Incarcerated women continue to experience physical and psychological safety harms while incarcerated and insufficient satisfaction of their constitutional rights,” the commission noted.