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How probation keeps people imprisoned without committing a crime, New Year’s events happening in Philly | Morning Newsletter

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Raquel Scott, shown here in a park across the street from her home in Upper Darby, December 20, 2019. One day after being released from prison on a probation violation, December 20, 2019.
Raquel Scott, shown here in a park across the street from her home in Upper Darby, December 20, 2019. One day after being released from prison on a probation violation, December 20, 2019.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

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New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and we’ve got details on plenty of ways to celebrate the dawn of a new decade in and around Philly. Although, as you’ll read below, there are experts out there who argue Jan. 1, 2020 technically isn’t the “true” start of the next decade. When we end, and begin, a decade is actually surprisingly debatable. We’ve also published the latest in our investigative series into the effects of probation and look back on some of the most “Philly” stories of the 2010s.

— Tauhid Chappell (@tauhidchappell,

During a heated domestic dispute with her older son’s father, Raquel Scott slapped the man and neighbors called police. Even though the man called it overblown and refused to testify, Scott was not in the clear. Despite having prosecutors withdraw charges, her past conviction related to retail theft had placed her on probation. The charges related to the dispute were flagged as a possible parole violation, and triggered what’s called a “detainer,” or an order that would put her back into jail and keep her incarcerated until a judge decided to let her go.

Scott’s cycle of incarceration is one that thousands of Philadelphians can attest to. Those who are on parole or probation can end up being placed in indefinite detention, sometimes for longer than a year, without any allegation or convictions related to crimes they are accused of having committed while out of jail. In our next installment of our continuing look into the penal and probation system, we look at what detainers do, and how they can keep Philadelphians from trying to move on from past convictions.

Philly has plenty of events happening around the city that will suit your New Years’ style. If you’re looking for something low-key, we’ve compiled a list of restaurants to check out while enjoying a more relaxing environment; as a bonus, many of these are budget friendly. If you’re feeling more hyped about 2020, there are venues around the city that will let you dance the night away.

Finally, if you’re planning a get-together or hosting your own party, be aware of some of the shops that will be closed so they don’t ruin your plans.

What you need to know today

  1. Authorities are still investigating the fatal stabbing in Olney that killed a mother and left her 14-year-old son critically injured Christmas morning. Police said violence erupted during a family party inside where the suspect was allegedly drinking heavily and arguing with other guests at the party.

  2. Five female inmates inside a Delaware County’s correctional facility spent Christmas night in hospitals after overdosing on heroin. It wasn’t clear how the narcotic was brought into the prison, but guards suspected that a visitor sneaked it in during holiday visitation hours.

  3. If you, or someone you know, is using Medicaid, you may want to check with your prescription provider to ensure you won’t have to change your prescription next year. Nearly 150,000 Medicaid recipients in Pennsylvania might be forced to change their medications come 2020 because of new regulations.

  4. In the ongoing investigation into the South Philly rowhouse explosion and fire, neighbors within the impacted area said they had been dealing with near-constant digging on South Eighth Street while workers repaired some defective water pipes. Some wondered whether the street work was partially responsible for the subsequent disaster, but the city Fire Department, the lead agency in the investigation, has not yet determined the cause of the explosion.

  5. Census Bureau officials knew filling almost half a million jobs to conduct the 2020 Census would be difficult, given the country’s low unemployment rate. One way they’re attracting help: paying census takers $25.50 an hour to go door to door and follow up with households that don’t respond to questionnaires.

  6. The Mummers Parade is entering its 120th anniversary of the glitzy, and often boozy, celebration come Jan. 1, but parking restrictions in preparation for the all-day party actually begin today along portions of the parade route.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

How many different colors can you spot? Thanks for sharing @aimeebsiegel.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🏂You don’t have to go to the mountains to get your ski on. Big Snow, an indoor ski park found inside the $5 billion American Dream Mall in New Jersey, offers an indoor slope, lessons for both skiing and snowboarding, rentals, and even a ski lift. All inside a mall.

  2. 🗓️ When the clock strikes midnight to usher in Jan. 1, 2020, millions of Americans will be celebrating what they think is the start of the next decade. Actually, that might be a bit preemptive, according to a variety of authoritative sources, from legendary Library of Congress researcher Ruth Freitag to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization. The right day to celebrate the next decade, they say, should be Jan. 1, 2021.

  3. 🎭 With the Mummers Parade being a drunken affair, one man decided to ensure the safety of his fellow mummers by creating a pin to help drunk or lost mummers find a safe ride home.

  4. If you’re enjoying a slow holiday break and have some downtime, our top 20 book recommendations for the decade will offer a relaxing opportunity get lost in a good story.


“Treatment of opioid addiction is not immune from racism within health care. A recent research letter described black patients as 77% less likely than white patients to receive buprenorphine prescriptions, after accounting for insurance status and other factors that impact access to treatment. Buprenorphine is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder proven to yield lasting recovery,” — Utsha Khatri, Shoshana Aronowitz, and Eugenia South on how the opioid crisis shows racism in health care is always harmful.

  1. The political winds are all shifting to Iowa and New Hampshire as we head into 2020, but the fact that candidates vying for their party’s nominee all flock to these select states shows just how much more important those voters are than everyone else, writes Albert Eisenberg, a political consultant and former communications director for the Philadelphia Republican Party.

  2. It was a grim Christmas prelude last week when China and Russia vetoed cross-border aid deliveries to millions of desperate Syrian civilians, but what was overlooked was that the U.S. played a role in displacing many of those refugees, writes columnist Trudy Rubin. She also points to a few ways people who want to help refugees can lend a hand.

What we’re reading

  1. Kwanzaa has been a celebration of African heritage since its creation in 1966, and the Philadelphia Citizen snagged a rare interview with its founder, Maulana Karenga, as it explored the food traditions found during the holiday.

  2. Somali American model Halima Aden will become the first black woman to wear a hijab on an Essence cover in the black magazine’s 50-year history.

  3. They say if you don’t see it, create it. That’s what Sean and Terry Torrington are doing with SlayTV, the first global TV network for the black LGTBQ community.

Your Daily Dose of | Philly

Philly is a unique city, and by unique, we mean there are a lot of weird things that happen that you probably won’t find anywhere else. From random fish falling from the sky, to Gritty, we compiled a top 10 list of the weirdest, and most uniquely Philly, stories of the last decade. What better way to end 2019?