Samantha Melamed writes about criminal and social justice.

Latest Stories

How probation and parole violations are filling Pennsylvania prisons, bloating budgets

“As a taxpayer, when you see that Pennsylvania is, in spite of the progress we’ve made, spending $100 million on technical parole violations, that should lead you to ask questions."

Philly launched a program to put homeless people to work. Here’s what happened.

“It’s not that complicated. People want to work. It was really just figuring out the logistics to make that happen.”

The last death-row inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary returns after 50 years in prison

In April, Gov. Tom Wolf commuted Samuel Barlow’s sentence. He returned to Philadelphia just over three weeks ago — and on Wednesday evening, he walked through the open front gate of Eastern State and gazed up at the steep stone walls.

Philly cop cleared in court of falsifying records, says he was targeted for retribution

Bryan Turner was cleared by a jury of all counts, and his lawyer said Wednesday that Turner believes the case against him originated as retaliation over a lawsuit he filed against the city.

Harold Wilson, sentenced to death 3 times in 1989 before being exonerated, dies at 61

Wilson became the sixth person exonerated from Pennsylvania’s death row, and spent his later years a staunch and outspoken death-penalty abolitionist.

Philly judge stuns wrongly convicted juvenile lifer by setting him free after 21 years in prison

Wednesday morning, Terrance Lewis, 40, was released — a free man for the first time since he was 17 years old.

The most crowded field in 40 years for Philadelphia primary, but did voters crowd the polls?

In many parts of the city, the elections came down to whether people wanted change, or more of the same.

In wake of ‘Wawa the Destroyer,’ a piece of Philly history sold at auction

Soaring columns and walnut paneling taken from the historic 1920s Public Ledger building to make way for the world's largest Wawa were put up for auction, starting at $17,000.

Philly man freed from 28 years on death row after finding of prosecutor’s misconduct

The victim's sister said it's time for Orlando Maisonet to go home. “I believe he had nothing to do with it," she told the judge. "In my heart, I feel that.”

Will controversy over risk assessments break Philly’s touted criminal-justice reform collaboration?

“Increasingly, we question whether this has been an excuse for the failure to move forward to end cash bail, as promised," District Attorney Larry Krasner and Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey wrote to Philly court leadership.