PHILADELPHIA – February 4, 2016 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday named a diverse array of community and law enforcement leaders to a Special Committee tasked with overhauling Philadelphia’s criminal justice system.
The co-chairs of the Special Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms are:
- Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), chair of the Committee on Public Safety;
- Former Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bethel; and
- Keir Bradford-Gray, chief of Philadelphia Defenders Association.
“Every resident of Philadelphia has been touched by the criminal justice system, whether they realize it or not. A truly efficient and equitable system of justice keeps the dangerous off the streets, offers second chances to those willing to earn them, and delivers maximum return to the taxpayer,” Council President Clarke said. “This is not about being tough or soft on crime, but about being smart, just, and fair.”
The Special Committee’s scope of examination will include but not be limited to: the unsustainable and rapid growth of the adult corrections population; the unique issues presented with respect to juveniles involved in the criminal justice system; the impact that current laws have on Philadelphia communities and the justice-involved population; and policy changes across the nation that have proven effective in reducing costs, recidivism, and corrections populations.
In addition to the experience and knowledge of its members, the Special Committee also will draw upon the expertise and reform efforts of institutions and organizations including: the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Prison System, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, the Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney, the Defender Association of Philadelphia, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition.
Councilman Jones said: “In order to reduce our prison population and ensure the public’s safety, we must increase educational and occupational opportunities for all, including those who have made mistakes. We will need all sectors of government, as well as the nonprofit and business communities, to work together to make sure our neighborhoods – not our prisons – are growing.”
Others named to the Special Committee are: Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District); Ann Schwartzman, Pennsylvania Prison Society; and Tariq El-Shabazz, Esq., El-Shabazz & Harris, LLC. More committee appointments, including those at the request of the Kenney Administration, will be made in the coming weeks.
More on this announcement:
From the Philadelphia Tribune.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer.
From KYW Newsradio.