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Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Joseph Darius Jaafari covers prisons and police for Spotlight PA. A graduate of the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in New York, he’s written about crime, courts and policing of queer communities for Teen Vogue, Rolling Stone Magazine, The New York Times, and PA Post. In 2019, he was awarded the Tow Knight Fellowship at The Marshall Project covering U.S. military courts and was a Solutions Journalism Fellow in South Africa reporting on rape and prosecutions in rural townships outside of Johannesburg. Prior to that, he reported on military technologies and public health issues in the American South. He won three honorable mention awards for his documentary “WOOF: A Barkumentary,” that explored abuse within gay fetish communities and he’s been a video producer for VICE, the New York Post and NationSwell.

Latest by Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

How Pa. troopers use sweating, stuttering during traffic stops to launch vehicle searches

Law enforcement across the country pull drivers over for alleged, minor traffic infractions with the intent to look for possible criminal activity. Pennsylvania is no exception.
By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Workers in Pa. prisons, COVID-19 hotspots, aren’t getting vaccinated. Here’s why that’s dangerous.

Approximately one-fifth of prison staffers have reported being vaccinated, far less than the roughly half of those incarcerated in Pennsylvania facilities.

By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

‘A turning point’: Thousands in Pa. prisons will be offered COVID-19 vaccine

At least 11 of the state’s 23 prisons have started to receive the vaccine, with thousands of inmates and corrections staff expected to be offered a shot in coming weeks, according to corrections officials and incarcerated people.

By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

How being sick could result in even stiffer penalties for spitting on Pa. police

The bill specifically names HIV and hepatitis B, even though those viruses can’t be transmitted through saliva.
By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Two Pa. prisons have vaccinated more than 70% of inmates. An incentive program may be making a difference.

Three out of the state’s 23 prisons have so far offered vaccines to inmates and staff, and the number of inmates who have gotten the vaccine at two of those facilities is upwards of 70%.

By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA and Jamie Martines/Spotlight PA

Pennsylvania State Police will escape legislative scrutiny in 2021 budget process

The decision to exclude the department comes after a year dominated by police brutality protests and a harder look within law enforcement agencies across the country at how they interact with Black and brown communities.

By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Confronted with significant flaws in coronavirus data, Pa. corrections officials concede ‘it’s unacceptable’

A five-month analysis by Spotlight PA found large fluctuations in the number of tests administered and unexplained changes to the death count.

By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Pa. prisons don’t always tell families when inmates are sick. Officials are defending that policy.

The department says it can only release medical details to emergency contacts, but critics contend it’s not doing enough to notify inmates of the need to update those authorizations.
By Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA

Law enforcement in Pa. preparing for possible unrest despite ‘no specific threats’ to the Capitol

“While there are no specific threats to the Capitol or the Capitol Complex, we are taking actions out of the abundance of caution, to be prepared in case any situations arise,” Capitol Police Superintendent Joseph Jacob told reporters Thursday.

By Cynthia Fernandez/Spotlight PA and Joseph Darius Jaafari/Spotlight PA