News

ACLU of Pennsylvania Releases Blueprint with Roadmap for Cutting Incarceration by 50 Percent

September 05, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA — The ACLU of Pennsylvania today released a new report that outlines how Pennsylvania can cut incarceration in half by pursuing reforms to the commonwealth’s drug sentencing laws. The report also includes recommendations to reform the laws that in recent years have led to Pennsylvania having the third-highest per capita rate in the nation of people on parole, probation, or other community supervision.

ACLU-PA Statement on Continuing Lockdown of Pennsylvania Prisons

September 04, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) continued its near-total lockdown of state prisons, confining most people in the department’s facilities to their cells 24 hours per day and prohibiting mail and visitation. According to the DOC, some facilities had some restrictions lifted over the weekend, and more facilities will lift restrictions throughout this week.

ACLU-PA Statement in Response to Ethics Complaint Against Former Philadelphia Prosecutor

August 23, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - Today, the Innocence Project filed an ethics complaint to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania against Bridget Kirn, a former prosecutor in the Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia who was lead counsel at the 2016 trial of Anthony Wright, an innocent man who spent more than 25 years in prison. According to the complaint, Kirn facilitated testimony from two Philadelphia police detectives that she likely knew was false, in the face of DNA evidence that cleared Wright and implicated another person from the North Philadelphia neighborhood where the crime occurred.

ACLU-PA Announces Appeal of Federal Court Ruling Upholding Censorship on Lackawanna County Transit

August 06, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, together with the American Civil Liberties Union and volunteer attorneys from the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, announced today that they have filed an appeal on behalf of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society in a federal lawsuit challenging the censorship of advertisements on County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) vehicles. The appeal was filed with the federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia.

ACLU-PA Statement on Philadelphia Ending Federal Access to PARS Database

July 27, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania applauded Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to end federal immigration authorities’ access to the city’s Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System, or PARS, which the mayor announced at a press conference this afternoon.

Category: Immigrants' Rights

Federal Court in Pennsylvania Rejects Argument That Child Welfare Agencies Have a Right to Discriminate

July 13, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA — A federal district court today ruled that the city of Philadelphia can require foster care agencies with city contracts to abide by its nondiscrimination policies. This ruling is the first time a federal court has said that government-contracted child welfare agencies do not have a right to exclude same-sex couples or others who don’t meet an agency’s religious test from fostering children.

Category: LGBT Rights

ACLU-PA Statement on Allegheny County DA Press Conference Addressing Criminal Homicide Charge against East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld

June 27, 2018
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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – This morning, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala held a press conference to address the criminal homicide charge brought against East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld. Rosfeld fatally shot 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr.

ACLU of Pennsylvania and Institutional Law Project Sue Fayette County over Inhumane Conditions at 19th Century Prison

June 26, 2018
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PITTSBURGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project filed a class-action lawsuit today challenging the cruel and inhumane living conditions for prisoners at the Fayette County Prison. 

Task Force Finds Systemic Flaws in Pennsylvania's Capital Punishment System

June 25, 2018
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Harrisburg, PA – Seven years after it started, a long-awaited bipartisan report analyzing capital punishment in Pennsylvania was released today. The report highlights numerous systemic flaws in the administration of the death penalty, including the risk of executing an innocent person. In a statement responding to the report’s release, a broad array of advocates agreed that the report validated their concerns over how the death penalty operates in the commonwealth.

With the ACLU-PA's Support, the School District of Philadelphia Passes Policy to End Suspensions of First and Second Graders

June 21, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - The School District of Philadelphia has expanded its existing policy prohibiting the out-of-school suspension of kindergarten students to include first and second graders, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. The School Reform Commission passed the policy at its voting meeting today. In a statement released after the vote, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania noted that the organization has advocated for this policy change for years.

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