Neighborhood Agenda Conference

Fighting Recidivism–A Key Panel at the “Phillyblocks 2007

The Neighborhood Agenda Conference”ISCV continues to move forward in putting together our “PhillyBlock: 2007–The Neighborhood Agenda” conference on Friday, September 14th, at the Convention Center from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM.

Registrations are now coming in from all over the city. You can sign up now using the PhillyBlocks 2007-The Neighborhood Agenda Online Registration web page formAfter an opening plenary with Mayor Street, Michael Nutter, and Al Taubenberger, we will break into 90 minute panels covering the neighborhood environment, youth development in and out of school, the mortgage foreclosure crisis, confronting economic hardships, and what we are all concerned about–crime.Recently, someone on PhillyBlocks asked, “What will the Crime Panel at the Conference Be About?” The answer is clear where we need to focus our attention if we hope to have a major impact on crime in Philadelphia. Repeat offenders.The following have agreed to join us:Anthony Murphy, Director, Town Watch (who will chair)First Deputy Police Commissioner Patricia Giorgio-FoxLeon King, Prison Commissioner Peter Solomon, Probation Department Harriet Spencer, Mayor’s Office of Re-Entry.Bilal Qayyum, Men United for a Safer Philadelphia These panelists represent a cross-section of the criminal justice system They all agree that if we hope to reduce crime in the City, we need to gain effective control of the more than 52,000 repeat offenders who are now out of prison and living in our neighborhoods.Here are the relevant statistics:There are now 327 probation officers responsible for keeping track of these 52,000 people on probation and parole in the City–a caseload of nearly 160 apiece. Probation caseloads should be no more than 70–and 35 for the parolees most likely to cause trouble. This is just common sense. But the Probation Department could not even gain an increase of 100 probation officers in this year’s budget–despite strong support from the District Attorney, a number of members of City Council, and the Philadelphia Daily News.So what happens with repeat offenders who are not monitored at all? Out of 76 people arrested for murder between January 1st and July 5th of this year, 65 had prior offenses: 85%.Out of 208 murder victims during this period, 158 had prior arrests: 76%. If we want to stop the violence in Philadelphia we need to take a close look at the people most responsible for it. That’s where probation and parole come in–along with the emerging Reentry System.Most crime is committed by the same people–over and over again. But our probation and parole system cannot even keep track of these repeat offenders, even though we know that they are responsible for most of our serious crime. Does that make sense to you? If you want to do something about this problem in the coming year, then join us for the PhillyBlocks : 2007 Conference on September 14th.

Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, 1218 Chestnut St.,Rm. 702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 215-238-1434 edcivic@libertynet.orgISCV web site: http://www.iscv.org/Also Check out “Neighborhoods Online” at http://www.neighborhoodsonline.net/. Or in Philadelphia: http://www.phillyneighborhoods.org/

“Citizenship is the American ideal. There may be an army of actualities opposed to that ideal, but there is no ideal opposed to that ideal.” –G.K. Chesterton

Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, 1218 Chestnut St.,Rm. 702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 215-238-1434 edcivic@libertynet.orgISCV web site: http://www.iscv.org/Also Check out “Neighborhoods Online” at http://www.neighborhoodsonline.net/. Or in Philadelphia: http://www.phillyneighborhoods.org/“Citizenship is the American ideal. There may be an army of actualitiesopposed to that ideal, but there is no ideal opposed to that ideal.” –G.K. Chesterton