PHILADELPHIA–“The incidents occurring behind our prison walls are tragic and unacceptable, but unfortunately, not surprising.
“For over a year, the Defender has been outspoken about the need to address conditions in Philly’s prisons. Since last summer, the population has swelled by 20 percent which has not been matched with needed staff. As a result, health and safety conditions continue to decline for detainees and prison employees alike. We simply must act with more urgency to come up with solutions to alleviate these problems.
“We have proven that the population can be safely and responsibly lowered to below 4,000. The release program we instituted last year led to millions in savings for the city, the closure of a county jail, and the availability of extra correctional officers at the remaining facilities. We need to return to this initiative immediately.”