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Social & Criminal Justice

Preventing Discrimination

Pennsylvania is 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, disability or creed.

THIS INCLUDES:

  • Providing statewide, nondiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, or accommodations based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Providing the LGBTQIA community same protections against hate crimes afforded to other minority groups. Many of our neighboring states do, and it’s time we join them in making everyone feel comfortable and welcome in this Commonwealth.

Providing Protection to All Victims of Sexual Assault

And though we passed substantial legislation reforming the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sex abuse, more needs to be done.

OUR CAUCUS STANDS BY OUR VOTES LAST FALL TO PROVIDE:

  • An immediate two-year, civil window for victims of both childhood and adult sex abuse.
  • A complete repeal of the statute of limitations for criminal charges to be brought against a perpetrator regardless of the victims age.
  • More resources to help victims recover from the trauma that was imposed on them.

Criminal Justice System Reform

Further, we need to continue the good work that the Senate Democrats have done reforming our criminal justice system. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative and Clean Slate law have improved out correction system, provided many former offenders paths to productive lives, and saved hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM CAN BE IMPROVED BY:

  • Reducing the amount of time and resources devoted to probationers who have completed sentences for past crimes while allowing them to fully re-integrate back into society.
  • Currently, probation terms can far exceed the original sentence handed down at trial and create indefinite periods during which even a minor violation could result in re-confinement. In many cases, prolonged terms of probation result from technical violations that can perpetually extend the clock on the probation term. Technical violations could range from committing minor traffic offenses to traveling out of state – violations which anyone not on probation could easily incur in the course of life. This is inconsistent with the spirit of the law, which aims to rehabilitate rather than punish offenders.
  • Providing a path to parole eligibility for individuals serving certain life sentences without parole.
  • Providing for release of ‘short-sentence’ offenders once a minimum sentence is reached and certain provisions are met, including no commission of violent crimes or certain sexual offenses, no gun or high-volume drug delivery offenses, and no misconduct while incarcerated. This will provide significant cost savings for the state.
  • Streamlining the process of accessing substance use disorder treatment for incarcerated individuals, which can lead to earlier release from prison.
  • Financing the use of best practices in probation supervision statewide, using evidence-based practices to help county probation departments assess the unique risks and needs of each individual on probation.
  • Providing better communication to victims of crimes about their rights, the availability of services, and the disposition an offender’s parole status.
  • 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

Leach Introduces Bail Reform Legislation

Leach Introduces Bail Reform Legislation

HARRISBURG – October 22, 2019 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today introduced legislation that would end pretrial detention for those who fail to post bail. “There are nearly half a million Americans who are in jail even though they haven’t been...

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Muth Applauds Signing of Victims’ Rights Legislative Package

Muth Applauds Signing of Victims’ Rights Legislative Package

ROYERSFORD – July 17, 2019 – Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks, Chester, Montgomery) applauded the governor’s signing of six bills that help to ensure and protect the rights of crime victims in Pennsylvania. “It is important to include the rights of victims in criminal justice...

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Sabatina: Marsy’s Law Passes Senate

Sabatina: Marsy’s Law Passes Senate

HARRISBURG - June 19, 2019 - Senator John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) was pleased to see Marsy’s Law pass unanimously in the Senate today by a vote of 50-0. The version that passed the Senate is State Rep. Delozier’s companion bill, HB 276, which is identical to Sen....

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Sabatina: Karen’s Law Passes the Senate

Sabatina: Karen’s Law Passes the Senate

HARRISBURG - June 19, 2019 - Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is elated that his legislation Senate Bill 123, also known as Karen’s Law, was passed unanimously (50-0) by the Senate and is one major step closer to becoming a law in Pennsylvania. “It’s been well...

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Dinniman, Fellow Senators Introduce TRU Bill

Dinniman, Fellow Senators Introduce TRU Bill

HARRISBURG - June 3, 2019 – State Senator Andy Dinniman and fellow senators announced new legislation to address security needs and confront violence against faith-based organizations and those with diverse members. Dinniman was joined by state Senators Jay...

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Sabatina: Marsy’s Law & Karen’s Law Head to Full Senate

Sabatina: Marsy’s Law & Karen’s Law Head to Full Senate

HARRISBURG - March 27, 2019 – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved both Marsy’s Law (SB149) and Karen’s Law (SB123), Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) announced. Both bills passed unanimously, 12-0. They now head to the full senate for consideration. “Both of...

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