State lawmakers focusing on criminal justice reforms

  • Emily Previti/PA Post

From The Context, PA Post’s weekday email newsletter:

We know Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is bad — but it’s worse than I would have expected, according to this PennLive post about one assessment that found the commonwealth is the worst of all but one other state. -Emily Previti, Newsletter Producer/Reporter

Parole, probation and more

Gov. Tom Wolf.

Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

Gov. Tom Wolf.

  • Gov. Wolf’s decision to commute three inmates’ life sentences brings his total to eight, more than any other Pa. governor in at least 25 years, according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Lawmakers also have moved in recent weeks on legislation that would enact reforms including automating criminal record expungement, scaling back probation terms in some cases, abolishing the death penalty and offering parole eligibility to certain prisoners serving life without parole.

  • State Rep. Jordan Harris and Sen. Anthony Williams — Philadelphia Democrats who are championing some of the bills — along with Board of Pardons Secretary Brandon Flood and former House Speaker Bill DeWeese, a Democrat who represented Greene and parts of Fayette and Westmoreland counties, talked about progress and next steps for the most recent State of the State episode. Listen here.

Best of the rest

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

  • A measure that would double the amount of educational improvement tax credits to businesses that help fund educational initiatives such as private school scholarships and pre-K programs passed the House of Representatives yesterday. Sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, the bill sets out a formula for further increases under certain circumstances, as Katie Meyer reports in this story for WITF.

  • PATCO started on a new schedule this week that puts a police officer on every train running overnight in Philly and New Jersey, the Associated Press reports.

  • State officials and relatives of four law enforcement officials who died recently in the line of duty honored them with a ceremony in Harrisburg earlier this week. Charlie Thompson was there and wrote about it in this PennLive story.

This morning’s edition has been updated to correctly spell out Pa.’s EITC, or Educational Improvement Tax Credit, program.

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