Samantha reports on social justice, criminal justice and the lives of Philadelphians, from the streets, the prisons and the bars.

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Amid coronavirus threat, Philadelphia will follow New Jersey and New York City in a push to cut the jail population

“There is real progress toward the defense and prosecutors having access to the court even in this pandemic, even with the court closed."

Exes sheltering in place together? Parents withholding visitation? Co-parenting during a pandemic gets messy, fast.

With the courts closed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, lawyers say, there’s little recourse but to work it out if parents can — or wait it out if they can’t.

‘It’s heartbreaking’: Coronavirus puts Philly homeless services in survival mode

Providers across the city have had to overhaul and, in many cases, drastically curtail their programs, struggling with the reality that social distancing just isn’t built into their service models.

Drug users risk overdoses when they’re alone. What does that mean during social distancing?

It's one more complication that the coronavirus pandemic has visited on healthcare workers who are trying to serve vulnerable populations.

Philly’s DA tried to exonerate this death-row inmate, but he’s still in prison - now possibly with coronavirus

Despite the extensive evidence indicating Ogrod has been wrongly detained, his next scheduled court date, which had been scheduled for March 27, has been postponed at least until June.

Fired public defenders sue, alleging Montgomery County retaliated for bail practice criticism

Former Chief Defender Dean Beer and Deputy Chief Public Defender Keisha Hudson accused the county of firing them for blowing the whistle, which they said violated their First Amendment rights.

With courts closed by pandemic, Philly police stop low-level arrests to manage jail crowding

That news came as a relief to advocates who have worried that, in light of court closures, those held pretrial could be incarcerated indefinitely — and that jail populations could quickly balloon as a result.

Coronavirus fears ignite a civil war as families, friends, neighbors clash over what’s safe

One side is armed with a bottomless supply of statistics, frightening news stories, and personal pleas from those most at risk; the other with skepticism and an understandable desire to maintain normalcy.

As coronavirus fears bear down on Philly courts and jails, DA Krasner rethinks bail, charging

“I look forward to the decisions the police are going to make about arrests. In light of whatever they choose to do, we are going to have to make decisions about whether we charge or not."

A simple intervention after arrest cut recidivism in Philly. It ended because of alleged police harassment.

Philadelphia’s first “bail advocates” reduced new arrests and bail violations and correlated with better case outcomes, including acquittals and lighter sentences.