Philly's less crowded, less costly jails
Be sure to check out
our recent report on Philadelphia’s declining jail population (PDF) or watch the webinar here:
The inmate count
in the city jails dropped from almost 9,800 in early 2009 to less than 7,700 this
past spring, although it’s back over 8,000 now. Our report attributes much of
the decline to new practices and procedures adopted throughout the city’s
criminal justice system—with the goal of increased efficiency. These changes
have resulted in fewer individuals being held pretrial on relatively minor
charges and in quicker hearings for individuals jailed for alleged probation or
parole violations. For analysis of how these and other changes that have affected the legal system
as a whole, see two new reports commissioned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Philadelphia's criminal justice system has received a lot of scrutiny in recent years, includng an Inquirer series.
Study: drug courts work, and cost more
A new Urban Institute study (PDF) of 17 drug courts, including the Philadelphia Treatment Court (fact sheet here), has found that they cost more than traditional courts but still may save money for communities if they enroll "serious offenders."
As a group, drug courts are effective in reducing relapses, criminal
activity, incarceration costs and the need for other services for less-serious offenders, the study found. See our related jails report.
PICA: Tax collections slipped in July
City general-fund tax collections this July were lower than they were in July 2010, ending a year-long growth trend. The state-run fiscal watchdog, Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, said in its latest monthly report (PDF) that the 5.9 percent decline and other trends "suggest the possibility of a general slowing in the rate of growth for the wage and sales tax base," although it cautions that one month does not make a trend.
Even fewer Philadelphians left in 2009
Last fall, we detailed a decade-long decline
in the net outflow of people from Philadelphia, based on IRS data through 2008. New IRS numbers show the trend was even more pronounced in 2009. Departures still outnumbered arrivals, but only by 4,709, less than a quarter of the level in the mid-1990s. The number of people who moved out fell substantially from 2008, while in-migration rose slightly. The net outflow to Philly's New Jersey suburbs was a mere 554, the lowest in two decades.
Philly's redistricting deadline is Sept. 9
Members of Philadelphia City Council have until Sept. 9 to adjust the boundaries of the city’s 10 council districts—based on the 2010 Census—or
face suspension of their paychecks. How does Philadelphia's timetable compare to those of other cities? Houston,
Baltimore and Washington are already finished; New York and Los Angeles haven’t started;
and Chicago is working toward a Dec. 1 deadline. A challenge in many cities, Philadelphia included, is redrawing districts in response to growing Latino populations. On Aug. 16 at 10:30 a.m., Philadelphia City Council will hold its first public hearing on the subject. In Dallas, a council-appointed commission chaired by a retired university administrator has
been holding public meetings for six months. Philly's data-mapping firm Azavea Inc. created an interactive web tool for Philadelphians to draw their own district maps. Read more about redistricting in our City Councils report from Feb. 2011.
City pays less-than-full pension contribution
Continuing a city pattern, Mayor Michael Nutter's administration last year paid less into the municipal-worker pension fund than needed to get back to a full funding level. According to the fund's just-released 2010 annual report (PDF), the city did pay the legal minimum, $298 million. But its own payment formula had called for $588 million. The city originally planned to contribute an additional $150 million but deferred that payment for several years in order to balance the annual budget. Read about the effect of lower-than-recommended payments in our 2009 report on city pensions.
|Upcoming Public Events
Aug. 11: Urban Land Institute forum on water usage. Details here.
Aug. 11: State-run forum for Philadelphia employers on new "health exchange" provisions of federal healthcare reform. Details here.
Aug. 12: Philadelphia Historical Commission meeting. Details here.
Aug. 16: Philadelphia City Council hearing on redistricting. Details here.
Aug. 16: Philadelphia City Planning Commission meeting. Details here.
Aug. 17: Philadelphia Board of Ethics meeting. Details here.
Aug. 19: Philadelphia Human Relations Commission meeting. Details here.
Aug. 26: Deadline for public to comment on new Delaware River waterfront plan. Details here.
Sept. 9: Deadline for City Council action on redistricting. Details here.
Sept. 14: Zoning Code Commission meeting. Details here.
Sept. 21: Philadelphia Fed conference on city's approach to foreclosure preventions. Details here.
Sept. 22: Philadelphia international trade fair. Detail here.
| Our Most-Read Reports
|Philadelphia's Less Crowded, Less Costly Jails. Read.
Philadelphia 2011: The State of the City. Read.
A City Transformed: Racial and Ethnic Changes in Philadelphia 1990-2010. Read.
The Philadelphia Research Initiative provides timely, impartial research and analysis that help Philadelphia’s citizens and leaders understand key issues facing the city. See our Reports and Briefs page.
We also conduct regular opinion surveys of Philadelphians on key issues, using nonpartisan pollsters who adhere to the highest standards of opinion research. See our Polling page.
Check our News and Data Library for primary research documents and previous newsletters.
The Philadelphia Research Initiative is a project of the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts. We welcome your comments.