Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania Reduced Prison Population by Record-Setting 3,471 since March 1

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter June 22, 2020 Criminal Justice Reform,  Press Release,  Prison Reform Governor Tom Wolf announced today that since March 1, the population of those in state correctional facilities has been reduced by 3,471 individuals, the largest multiple-month decrease ever experienced by the Department of Corrections and one that likely helped the department reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in facilities.“When COVID-19 arrived, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections met the challenge of keeping the general public safe while protecting its inmate population from this easily transmissible disease,” Gov. Wolf said. “The department has been successful at keeping COVID-19 from spreading widely in the congregate settings of correctional facilities.”In the three-plus months since COVID-19 was first identified in Pennsylvania, less than 1 percent of the state prison population has tested positive. Ultimately, the inmates inside state correctional institutions have proven so far to be more secure from COVID-19 than the general population, where the mortality rate is 90% higher than it is in the state’s correctional facilities as of today.The population reduction includes furloughing paroled individuals from centers to home plans; working with the parole board to maximize parole releases; reviewing parole detainers for those in county jails and state prisons; expediting the release process for anyone with a pending approved home plan; reviewing and releasing inmates who are beyond their minimum sentences; and implementing the temporary reprieve program that has allowed Gov. Wolf to issue reprieves to 159 inmates during the pandemic.These releases are in addition to preexisting criminal justice reform efforts that have reduced Pennsylvania’s prison population from 48,881 inmates when Gov. Wolf entered office at the beginning of January 2015 to 41,738 inmates today. That 7,143 decrease in population in under five years has allowed the state to reduce taxpayer costs by closing facilities while enabling more Pennsylvanians to resume their lives – all without an increase in the state’s crime rate.“The Department of Corrections takes pride in its ability to keep inmates safe and will continue to prioritize health and wellness during the COVID-19 crisis,” DOC Sec. John Wetzel said. “We will continue to seek improvements in our criminal justice system that minimizes the number of incarcerated individuals while providing the highest degree of safety to every Pennsylvanian.”Pennsylvania has taken a bipartisan approach to criminal justice reform and in recent years has:Passed Justice Reinvestment 2 addressing the high cost of incarceration in the state, strengthening support for county probation programs and fixing inadequate sentencing guidelines, and reforming the post-trial criminal justice system.Created a Fair-Chance hiring policy for state agencies that removes the criminal conviction question, otherwise known as “banning the box,” from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.Signed the “Clean Slate” bill, the first of its kind in the nation, to help those who have committed low-level offenses and have paid their penalty get back on the path to a blemish-free record, removing potential roadblocks to jobs, housing, health care, and education.Signed Act 95 of 2018, eliminating driver’s license suspensions for non-driving infractions.Signed Act 146 of 2018, extending the time a convicted individual has to file a post-conviction relief action to one year, from what was 60 days under current law.Signed Act 147 of 2018, updating Pennsylvania’s DNA testing law to reflect significant advances in technology and the lessons learned by criminal justice professionals since 2002. The legislation removes the supervision requirement that only people serving a sentence can apply for DNA testing.Signed Act 148 of 2018, a victim protection bill regarding housing options and emergency transfers.Find more information on Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19.Find more information on Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen PA.Ver esta página en español.center_img Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania Reduced Prison Population by Record-Setting 3,471 since March 1last_img read more

Gov’t to Shutdown ‘Bad’ Water Companies

first_imgMr. Dobayou speaking to local water producers in MonroviaThe government, through the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), is poised to institute stringent measures against producers of substandard drinking water on the Liberian market.According to the EPA, those water producers who over the years have thought it prudent to put the lives of the Liberian people at risk will no longer have the free will and space to operate. “We must comply with the standard set by the government or you will be shut down. We will no longer allow our people to be shortchanged, especially with their lives in such a way,” EPA Deputy Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, II told an audience of producers in Paynesville on Monday.“We want to send a bigger message out there. If you are a producer and you refused to come in compliance with the law, we will come after you,” he said.Making special statement at the opening of a two-day EPA seminar for water producers, the DED noted that most producers lack not only the requisite equipment and infrastructure, but the required technical understanding of the industry as well.The seminar is meant to train technicians of packaged drinking water producing companies in Montserrado County. It is intended to enhance the quality of water being produced by packaged water manufacturers.“What some of you produce do not meet the minimal quality of what a safe drinking water supposed to look like and this is terrible. You are harming our people,” he said.The actions of those Mr. Doubayou described as ‘bad producers’ are not only tarnishing the reputation of the industry, it is on a bigger scale putting the lives of the Liberian people in danger.“Water you produced must be tasteless, odorless and colorless. You will be close if your products do not meet even the minimal requirements,” he told the gathering.It is estimated that waterborne diseases including Typhoid, Cholera, Guinea worm, and Diarrhea killed 3.4 million people, globally, each year.It is against this backdrop, the EPA said, the training was organized to help provide technicians the necessary education and awareness to help them remove or reduce bacteria and pathogens that contaminate drinking water, in order to decrease the incidents of waterborne diseasesSome productions are done in environments that are unsafe. “This is a concern to us,” he said.“We cannot permit you to carryout production in dangerous area (near cemeteries and wetlands and areas that encourage open air degradation) that will pose threats to the lives of our people. No matter how you refine your water, it remains contaminated because the environment is not suitable.”Facilitators for the training were drawn from Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Ministry of Health, and the EPA. Participants are being lectured on how to turn ground water into fresh and safe, packaged drinking water. They are also being taught EPA’s regulation on production of packaged drinking water.EPA statistics indicate that there are about five hundred water producers nationwide, four hundred of which are in Monrovia and its immediate environs.While some of these producers endeavor to be in compliance with government’s regulations, others have refused to meet standards set and are therefore manipulating the sector. “There are many of your colleagues out there who refuse to come in compliance with government set rules and they are the ones who darken the image of the law.Ninety percent of the country’s population consumes water that is produced locally while the rest, who have the financial capabilities, consume imported water. “This means that your sector plays a cardinal role in the existence of our people and maintenance of our society.“We called you to reemphasize your role in our society and how to improve what you do. But you must be sincere to yourself, to the Liberian people and also be committed to the production high quality products,” he said.A team of inspectors will access all water producing facilities across the country to ensure that producers are in full compliance with EPA’s drinking water guidelinesHe noted that there are four recognized plastic (sachets) producers for water, but most of the products are not biodegradable, which is also a problem.“We will also go after plastics producers for the quality of plastics they produce and whether these are being sold to legitimate business people who are in compliance with the laws of the country.He said there is a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) that was signed with these producers that is being blatantly violated. “You need to abide by the MOU we signed by not selling to people who are violating our laws. If they fail to adhere to this call, we will also go after them.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more