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

Latest Stories

Pennsylvania prisons to begin lifting lock downs without universal testing

But officials acknowledged “full community spread” at the state’s oldest operating prison, State Correctional Institution Huntingdon, where two men died this week and 158 prisoners have tested positive.

‘Demoralizing and dehumanizing’: What it’s like to deliver food during the pandemic

“As messed up as it sounds, the coronavirus has benefited me. People are staying at home and they have to get their food somehow.”

Philadelphians are secretly picking ‘quaranteams’ to survive the shutdown

Being socially monogamous is one way to expand your stay-at-home bubble while limiting risk during the coronavirus pandemic, as offices extend work-from-home plans through Labor Day and parents brace for a summer without camp.

The path to reopening brings anxieties about how to navigate the new normal

In lieu of widespread testing and clear government guidelines, what happens when Philadelphia is cleared to reopen will come down to individuals' own judgement calls, a grave responsibility with potential life-or-death consequences.

An ice sculptor’s business melted away in the pandemic. So he’s making street art instead.

Installing guerrilla ice sculptures, on the Broad Street median and the Logan Square fountain, is a way of connecting, sending out little sparks of hope and humanity amid the gloom.

Hundreds are being released from jail during the coronavirus pandemic. But where are they going?

They’re returning home to a straining network of reentry supports and halfway houses wary that any new admission from the jails poses a risk of spreading the deadly virus.

Have Torah, will travel: Zoom mitzvahs adapt an ancient Jewish tradition for the pandemic

Simply delaying isn’t an easy choice, since kids spend months or even years learning a date-specific section of the Torah, a sacred scroll that is read, a few paragraphs at a time, over the course of the year.

Pa. prisoners are locked in their cells 23 hours a day. This is what it’s like, in their own words.

Prisoners share stories of surviving the longest statewide lockdown ever. Some say it’s pushing them to the brink.

Black artists already had less access to resources. An emergency fund aims to get them through the pandemic.

The idea is simple: Strip away the complexities and bureaucracies of standard grant applications, and get $500 directly into the hands of those who need it most. And encourage Philadelphia’s black artists to stick to their dreams.

Probation is closed in Philly. But probationers are being jailed through the pandemic.

Many remain jailed not because they’ve been found to pose any particular public-safety threat, but because of the complexities of their legal-system entanglements.