By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia has received a $3.5 million grant to help reduce its prison population.
The city’s goal is to cut the number of inmates in city jails by one-third.
Philadelphia has the largest prison population of any major city, but more than half of inmates are there before they’ve been convicted of any crime.
Sixty percent are awaiting trial, mostly for non-violent offensive, and unable to make bail. The average stay is 95 days, four times the national average.
Chief of Staff to the Deputy Managing Director, Julie Wertheimer, says the city has already been working on those issues through better coordination between prosecutors and defenders, but the grant, from the MacArthur Foundation, allows it to move forward on more expensive reforms.
“We needed funding for the alternatives to bail that we’re looking at, ways to make the case-processing system more efficient. We are trying to get moving on them immediately.”
The city’s goal is to reduce the prison population by 34 percent over the next three years.