Video: Behind the Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Prison Population: A Conversation

08/04/2010 - On May 19, 2010, the Philadelphia Research Initiative hosted a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on the findings of its report, “Philadelphia’s Crowded, Costly Jails: The Search for Safe Solutions.”  The event brought together local and national leaders to explore why the city’s jail population rose for most of the decade and fell in the past year, what is being done to manage the population more systematically, and what the experiences of other cities have been.

The following video was taken at this event.


Because of the strong audience participation during the Q&A period, time did not permit our panelists and other leaders in the criminal justice community to discuss all of the audience questions that were submitted at the event.  Subsequently, the participants generously agreed to continue the conversation in writing


  • Welcome by Dean Michael Fitts
    Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Introduction of The Honorable Michael Nutter by Rebecca Rimel
    President and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts 
  • Opening remarks from The Honorable Michael Nutter
    Mayor of Philadelphia  
  • Presentation of findings by Larry Eichel
    Project Director of the Philadelphia Research Initiative 
  • Introduction of panelists by Scott Cooper
    Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association 
  • Panel Discussion moderated by Tamala Edwards
    6ABC Action News Anchor

  • R. Seth Williams, District Attorney 
  • Everett A. Gillison, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety
  • Reverend Dr. Ernest McNear, Chairman of the Kingdom Care Reentry Network 
  • Michael P. Jacobson, Director and President of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York  

In addition to the four panelists, the following individuals responded to audience questions:

  • Judge Pamela Dembe, Common Pleas President Judge 
  • Louis Giorla, Prisons Commissioner, City of Philadelphia
Read the associated report, “Philadelphia’s Crowded, Costly Jails: The Search for Safe Solutions.”

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