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
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
Bethlehem, September 22, 2017 – The Office of Victim Advocate and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association are working with state Senators Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton) and Pat Stefano (R-Fayette) on legislation that would enable government, business and...read more