House panel approves second phase of Justice Reinvestment Initiative

House panel approves second phase of Justice Reinvestment Initiative

A three-bill package designed to shift more offenders into drug treatment and probation programs secured the vote of the vital House Judiciary Committee this week, pushing the second phase of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative closer to the governor’s desk. 

Known as JRI II, the three bills aim to create savings through increased use of an underutilized state drug treatment program and presumptive parole for nonviolent, short sentence offenders.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Probation reform bill gets closer to a full House vote, but sees significant changes in committee

Probation reform bill gets closer to a full House vote, but sees significant changes in committee

A House committee advanced a pivotal package of criminal justice reforms for a full House vote on Monday, but not without amending some to include new measures that criminal justice advocates fear have watered down the legislation’s original intent. 

 

Led by chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), the House Judiciary Committee reported out legislation that would have overhauled Pennsylvania’s probation and parole systems by capping the amount of time individuals can spend on parole, as well as a three-bill package designed to redirect more resources to county probation and parole efforts.  

Monday, December 9, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
House Judiciary passes bills aimed at protecting corrections officers; vote on 'monumental' criminal justice reform to come

House Judiciary passes bills aimed at protecting corrections officers; vote on 'monumental' criminal justice reform to come

The House Judiciary Committee passed a slate of bills Tuesday to beef up protections for corrections officers, raising the eyebrows of some of the committee’s more liberal members despite a pledge from the chairman that more aggressive criminal justice reform measures will get a look next month.

The bills, which include increasing penalties for assaulting a corrections officer and allowing county corrections officers to lock their personal firearms in their vehicles, all passed with some measure of bipartisan support.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
“Enough is enough”: Lawmakers call for increased criminal penalties for bullies

“Enough is enough”: Lawmakers call for increased criminal penalties for bullies

Roughly one in five students admit having been bullied at some point during their schooling, a statistic that does not exempt members of the General Assembly.

As part of a bipartisan push to strengthen criminal penalties for bullies, legislators ditched statistics and policy on Tuesday and settled for a different approach to get their point across: personal experience.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
5 bills to watch for the week of October 21

5 bills to watch for the week of October 21

We get it, session weeks are busy. That’s why we put together a list of the bills being discussed in committee and on the floor of the General Assembly that are worth devoting your precious time to tracking. From the arrest powers of school police officers to eliminating straight ticket voting, here are five bills to watch for the week of October 21. 
Friday, October 18, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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