tag | John Wetzel

Why Gov. Tom Wolf’s big effort to grant coronavirus reprieves to Pa. inmates came up small

The Department of Corrections has defended its response, saying it was a cautious approach that included all relevant parties to represent the public interest.
By Joseph Darius Jaafari and Matt McKinney/Spotlight PA

To reprieve or not to reprieve? That’s everyone’s question

Is state moving too slow or too fast with coronavirus releases?
By Joseph Darius Jaafari

Prison design creates ideal environment for coronavirus

Connected vents and small cells help accelerate the virus’s spread, and puts inmates on edge
By Joseph Darius Jaafari

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Amid pandemic, activists call prison crowding cruel and unusual punishment

Most cells measure about 10 feet by 10 feet. Critics contend that, given the size of the current prison population, such tight quarters make it impossible for inmates to keep a safe distance from one another.

By An-Li Herring/WESA

Hundreds could be released from Pa. state prisons under draft plans to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak

The proposal under discussion would prioritize non-violent, low-level offenders who are deemed medically "vulnerable."
By Cynthia Fernandez/Spotlight PA and Matt McKinney/Spotlight PA

13 prison employees suspended in Pennsylvania inmate death

A Corrrections spokeswoman says the suspension of employees over an inmate death is uncommon.
By Mark Scolforo/The Associated Press

Prisons chief’s comments prompt 2nd prison-closing hearing

People urging Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration not to close Retreat State Prison will get a second chance to be heard.

By The Associated Press

Tension between DOC and prison staff union flares after hot mic comment

Union leaders interpreted Corrections Secretary John Wetzel’s quiet aside at a prison closure hearing as dismissive.
By Katie Meyer

Parole system could see changes after review of murder cases

An internal review of Pennsylvania’s parole system is, in theory, acknowledging a long-standing complaint of parole agents over a long-term policy shift designed to help more parolees succeed on the outside.

By Marc Levy/The Associated Press

One of Pa.’s prison units is about to go Scandinavian

A group of about a dozen corrections officers recently returned from a trip to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where they spent several weeks working in prisons. Now, they’re refurbishing a housing unit to try out what they learned.

By Katie Meyer