Social & Criminal Justice Reform
Pennsylvania can be a wonderful place to work and live, to raise a family, to go to school, to start a business. We must ensure that those opportunities are available to all our residents, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation or creed.
This means preserving women’s rights, making sure their access to health care is protected, that they receive the same pay for the same work, and that they are free from sexual harassment in the workplace.
We need to protect the rights of our LGBT citizens as well. Right now, we have no statewide, nondiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual orientation or gender. Many of our neighboring states do, and it’s time we join them in making everyone feel comfortable and welcome in this commonwealth.
Re-entering a community after serving time in prison can be difficult, and it’s one of the factors that leads to higher rates of recidivism.
Create programs to ease the re-entry process can be enormously helpful in getting a person back on their feet
Reform the expungement process, so that minor offenses can be wiped from a person’s record and they don’t spend the rest of their lives paying for a single mistake.
"Ban the Box,” a provision that prohibits employers from asking job applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime in the first round of their screening process. Too often, checking “Yes” in that box will automatically disqualify an applicant.
Eliminate incarceration for someone who fails to pay their cash bail. Paying a cash bail is simply not possible for some people, and locking them up for failing to pay that is a policy that punishes them again for not having means.
Our Members at Work
Senators Anthony H. Williams and Camera Bartolotta Unveil Probation Reform Legislation with Broad, Bipartisan Support
HARRISBURG − January 28, 2019 − On Monday afternoon, Senators Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) and Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver, Greene and Washington) hosted a press conference to introduce Senate Bill 14, comprehensive probation reform legislation. They were...read more
Senators Haywood and Hughes Host Fair Housing Community Roundtable to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act
Philadelphia, December 12, 2018 - Today, State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) joined State Senator Vincent Hughes (D- Montgomery/Philadelphia), activists, advocates, and community organizations for a roundtable discussion on the Fair Housing Act...read more
HARRISBURG, November 16, 2018 — Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement in connection with the passage of HB2060 that disarms Protection from Abuse (PFA) violators. “I want to congratulate the advocates, legislators, and...read more
COATESVILLE, October 11, 2018 – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently joined officials from local and state police departments to recognize National Juvenile Justice Week. “Juvenile justice providers fulfill a vital mission in holding involved youth...read more
HARRISBURG, October 3, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is pleased that his legislation Senate Bill 1023, also known as Karen’s Law, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation passed with a 14-0-1 vote. “Karen’s Law has been a...read more
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Pittsburgh) release the following statement on HB2060: Today is an historic day. We have finally passed substantive legislation to protect the victims of domestic violence, and it goes to Governor Wolf for his signature. HB 2060...read more
Bipartisan Coalition & 400 Advocates join Senator Sharif Street in Support of Senate Bill 942, Reforming Parole in PA
HARRISBURG, October 3, 2018 – PA Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) was joined by over 400 advocates, led by the Coalition to End Death by Incarceration and a bipartisan coalition to pass Senate Bill 942 which empowers the Parole Board to review life sentences in...read more
HARRISBURG, September 26, 2018 – The Pennsylvania Senate today approved a bill introduced by Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) to criminalize the coercion of sexual conduct. Senate Bill 1134, which Schwank and Vulakovich...read more
HARRISBURG, September 25, 2018 --- Following the death of Antwon Rose, Jr. earlier this year, and other incidents around the state and nation, state legislators began work on legislation regarding police management and community relations. Today, Senators Jay Costa,...read more
HARRISBURG, September 24, 2018 – Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) today urged his legislative colleagues to pass legislation that would expand the state’s statute of limitations, enabling more child sexual abuse victims to seek justice. “Considering the harrowing...read more
PHILADELPHIA, September 20, 2018 – Senator Anthony Williams applauds the City of Philadelphia’s decision to implement substantial reform to its civil forfeiture process. “For too long innocent residents of Philadelphia have been victim to an unfair process that...read more
PITTSBURGH, PA − September 13, 2018 − Following the death of Antwon Rose, Jr. earlier this year, and other incidents around the state and nation, state legislators from Western Pennsylvania began work on legislation regarding police management and...read more
Harrisburg – July 18, 2018 -- Assailants charged with murder against LGBTQ individuals would be prohibited from using “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses to avoid conviction or mitigate punishment, if legislation authored by state Sen. Larry Farnese...read more
Wilkinsburg -- July 17, 2018 – A joint state Senate-House Democratic Policy Committee hearing was held today in Wilkinsburg to focus on proposals aimed at improving community-police relations. Held locally at the request of Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Rep....read more
Wilkinsburg -- July 17, 2018 --- Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today attended a joint hearing of the Pennsylvania House and Senate Policy Committees regarding police and community relations. “Improving relations between police departments and the communities...read more
Harrisburg - July 3, 2018 – Last week, Senator Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia) joined Governor Tom Wolf, lawmakers, and advocates for the signing of House Bill 1419, also known as the Clean Slate bill. “There are too many people who have done their time and have...read more
Harrisburg -- June 28, 2018 - Senator Anthony H. Williams joined Gov. Tom Wolf at the bill signing for House Bill 1419, also known as the “clean slate” bill, into law. “With enactment of this clean slate legislation, citizens who have paid their debt to society and...read more
HARRISBURG – June 4, 2018 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today released the following statement at the conclusion of today’s Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Senate Bill 293. “One of the foundational principles of justice is...read more
Harrisburg, March 20, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) voted to push forward a package of domestic violence protections being considered by the Senate. Sabatina, a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 501, helped pass the bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee....read more
HARRISBURG – January 29, 2018 – Today, the Senate State Government Committee unanimously approved bipartisan legislation reforming possible state prison closures in Pennsylvania. On January 6, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections publicly announced the...read more