MAYOR NUTTER SIGNS ORDINANCE, EXECUTIVE ORDER ON MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION

Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed City Council legislation to decriminalize the possession and use of 30 grams or less of marijuana in the City of Philadelphia, and an executive order which directs the implementation of the law and coordinates supporting public services, including expungement, addiction treatment, educational programming and an informational outreach campaign.

“In addition to signing this ordinance, which does not legalize marijuana but makes the penalties commensurate with the violation, I am proud to announce that the City of Philadelphia is launching an outreach campaign to educate residents about the impact and consequences of marijuana use and how they can get help to overcome the habit,” said Mayor Nutter. “This approach is consistent with President Obama’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy Report, which represents a national shift toward policies that emphasize prevention, treatment and recovery. I do not condone marijuana use, it is illegal. But the punishment needs to be proportionate to the crime, and these are common sense changes that will have a positive impact on many Philadelphians.”

While the use and possession of any amount of marijuana remains illegal, the penalties have been altered to eliminate arrests for non-violent offenders. For possession, an individual will receive a Notice of Violation and $25 fine. For public use, an individual will receive a Notice of Violation and $100 fine, or up to nine hours of community service. These changes will be effective beginning Monday, October 20, 2014.

Individuals will no longer be arrested for use and possession of small amounts of marijuana (30 grams or less), nor will they receive a criminal record for such use or possession. When an individual is stopped for use or possession, police officers will confiscate the marijuana and provide it to the Philadelphia Police Department Forensics Unit for possible testing of substances. Finally, parents and guardians can be held liable for violations of their minor children.

Mayor Nutter added, “I would like to thank Councilman Kenney for his leadership on this issue, all my colleagues in City Council, Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Neifield and her colleagues at the Courts, District Attorney Williams, Police Commissioner Ramsey, Superintendent Dr. Hite and all the other individuals who worked with my office on this important initiative. It is as a result of our common purpose to best serve the citizens of Philadelphia that we were able to work collaboratively on such an important matter.”

The Executive Order signed by Mayor Nutter authorizes the launch of a public outreach campaign to educate Philadelphians regarding the new regulations through public services announcements (PSAs) and the distribution of palm cards at City facilities such as Health Centers, Police Districts, and The Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (R.I.S.E.). The palm cards and PSAs will reinforce that marijuana use and possession is still illegal, provide information on addiction treatment services, and remind individuals that they can still be arrested for distributing marijuana, failing to provide accurate information to the police if stopped, driving under the influence of marijuana or possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana.

Also included in the Executive Order is the City’s support of effective substance abuse and violence prevention programs for students and adults. Last year, the School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the City of Philadelphia, implemented the LifeSkills Training Program at twelve middle schools throughout the city. The program provides students with the skills to resist drug, alcohol and tobacco use. In addition to dissuading students from substance abuse, the program promotes high self-esteem and violence prevention. The School District reached out to middle school principals to invite them to participate in the program at no cost to the school for the 2014-2015 school year, with almost $200,000 in available funding provided by a grant from the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence with assistance from the City.

The City’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) offers drug treatment services for individuals in and out of the criminal justice system. The Department provides behavioral health services by working directly with the court system, District Attorney’s Office and Public Defenders Association to refer individuals to drug-dependence treatment programs. Furthermore, DBHIDS contracts with more than 200 providers throughout Philadelphia to provide addiction treatment options for those with and without medical insurance. Individuals seeking treatment for marijuana misuse and dependence should call 1-888-545-2600 for referral services.

The City also is increasing its collaboration with Community Legal Services (CLS) to augment the funding for criminal record expungement services for all residents with a criminal record from an arrest or conviction. The City will provide CLS with $100,000 to assist those individuals who have been arrested or convicted for marijuana use or possession, as well as other individuals in Philadelphia who have criminal records eligible for expungement.

“Providing expungement services to some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents is critical to our mission of ensuring equity for low-income Philadelphians,” said Catherine C. Carr, Executive Director of Community Legal Services. “We look forward to working with the City to ensure that we can serve as many citizens as possible to provide them with a clean slate for their futures.”

In addition to these programs and outreach efforts, the City will continue to promote programs that divert eligible young people and adults from the criminal justice system.

• Philadelphia’s innovative School Diversion Program, which received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday, diverts students who commit low-level delinquent acts on or around school property from arrest and into Intensive Prevention Services. This program prevents young people from entering the juvenile justice system for minor offenses.

• The Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (R.I.S.E.) provides services like job training opportunities and record expungement to individuals who have been involved with the criminal justice system through arrest, conviction and/or incarceration. The Fatherhood Enrichment Program provides direct services such as parenting skills trainings, child support assistance, and GED classes to noncustodial fathers including those who have a criminal record.

• The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is working with Philadelphia and 250 jurisdictions across the country to reform juvenile detention practices to divert nonviolent juvenile defendants from placement in locked detention facilities prior to their court hearing.

 


 

Fact Sheet (English)

Fact Sheet (Spanish)

 

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES CITY SELECTED AS RECIPIENT OF ‘SECOND CHANCE ACT’ GRANT FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Philadelphia, September 30, 2014 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia has been selected as recipient of a Second Chance Act grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ),Bureau of Justice Assistance, to help Philadelphians who have been released from the City prison system to become productive citizens and avoid re-incarceration.  The federal Second Chance Act of 2008 authorizes federal grants to government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide strategies and services designed to reduce recidivism by improving opportunities for returning citizens.  The announcement comes one day after Mayor Nutter announced that the City will also receive three competitive grants from the DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

The $750,000 award, complemented by City funds, will support the Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program. This new program will enroll 105 medium- to high-risk male returning citizens, ages 18-40, and will focus on reducing recidivism among the group.  All of the program participants have served time in the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) and are returning to homes in North Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District, which is the focus of the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.

“Every year, thousands of citizens are released from local correctional facilities and return to their families and friends in Philadelphia.  Their successful re-integration into our communities is often hindered by challenges like a lack of education, job-training and limited opportunities for employment and housing,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “This Second Chance grant provides funds to create a solid programmatic structure which will allow the City of Philadelphia to provide our returning citizens with a seamless and coordinated re-entry process.  The Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program will provide services like job readiness and placement, as well as skills training, adult literacy and housing supports.”

The Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program will be led by the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (R.I.S.E.) working in partnership with the Philadelphia Re-entry Coalition, whose 70+ members include all relevant government and community-based stakeholders including the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS), the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy (MCOL) and the First Judicial District Adult Probation and Parole Department.  The Urban Institute, a nationally renowned research and policy organization,  will serve as research partner.  The program includes City-led, innovative programs like MCOL’s myPLACE, and two FastFWD graduates: Texitzen and Jail Education Solutions.

“For the last six years, R.I.S.E. has worked with the Philadelphia Prisons to offer a seamless link from custody services to community engagement for returning citizens. This grant will enable both agencies to expand these efforts,” said Louis Giorla, Commissioner for the Philadelphia Prison System.  “The targeted geographical area has one of the City’s highest concentrations of returning citizens and one of the highest recidivism rates.  The combination of in-custody and post-release services will compliment the City’s global approach to revitalizing its most challenged neighborhoods.”

The baseline recidivism rate for the 22nd Police District is 45.13%, which is among the highest rates in the city.  The Retuning Citizens Demonstration Program will utilize a multi-discipline, multi-sector Re-Entry Task Force to guide planning and implementation of pre- and post-release services designed to support coordinated and successful re-entry. After being released from the City prison system, program participants will receive services and referrals for housing, employment readiness and placement, behavioral health care, legal services, and life skills training, among others. The City expects to see a 50% reduction in the rate of recidivism over a 5 year period for the target area.

On Monday, Mayor Nutter announced that the City will receive three competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as part of the City’s on-going efforts to reduce youth violence and provide productive pathways to adulthood.

The grants are the following:

  • $600,000 for the School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts for the School Diversion Program;
  • $227,430 from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) Collaboration on the Youth Opportunity Corps for expansion of PowerCorpsPHL;
  • And $100,000 for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (Forum) for expansion of Philadelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative.

The three awards seek to improve school safety, stem the “school-to-prison” pipeline and improve the educational and employment outcomes for young people, especially young men of color.  The grant from the Forum for the expansion of the City’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative will seek to replicate the B.A.M. (Becoming A Man) program in Philadelphia.

B.A.M. is a dropout and violence prevention program for at-risk male students in grades 7-12. B.A.M. offers in-school programming, in some cases complemented by after-school sports, to develop social-cognitive skills strongly correlated with reductions in violent and anti-social behavior.  A recent, controlled trial conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab showed that B.A.M. reduced violent crime arrests by 44%, reduced weapons crimes by 36%, reduced the likelihood of attending school in a juvenile justice setting by 53%, and increased future graduation rates by 10-23%.

Alignment with City and Federal Programs: Mayor Michael Nutter and his Administration have strategically and intentionally developed targeted, place-based strategies for the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia. Through the leadership and coordination of the Mayor’s Office of Grants, the City is working with federal, state, corporate, and philanthropic sectors to attract funding to revitalize North Philadelphia and support programs that specifically advocate for young adult males of color. For example, North Philadelphia is the target of a U.S. Department of Justice Youth Violence Prevention “National Forum” (2012 & 2014) award, a Community Based Violence Prevention “Ceasefire” award (2012), U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Planning (2013) award and most recently, a $30M HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant for North Central Philadelphia. The Returning Citizens Demonstration project is also consistent with the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK), of which Mayor Michael Nutter is co-chair.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES CITY RECEIVES THREE GRANTS FROM U.S. DEPT. OF JUSTICE FOR YOUTH ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS

Philadelphia, September 29, 2014 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia has won three competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as part of the City’s on-going efforts to reduce youth violence and provide productive pathways to adulthood.

The grants are the following:

  • $600,000 for the School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts for the School Diversion Program;
  • $227,430 from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) Collaboration on the Youth Opportunity Corps for expansion of PowerCorpsPHL;
  • And $100,000 for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (Forum) for expansion of Philadelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative.

“I am proud of the partnership that Philadelphia has developed with the U.S. Department of Justice and for the national reputation we have built as one of the country’s leaders in the prevention and reduction of youth violence,” Mayor Nutter said. “These awards will further our work in keeping our kids safe in school and out of court and jails and will provide work for at-risk youth to keep them on the right path. They directly align with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper [MBK] initiative that focuses on young men of color, and I want to thank the staff at the Mayor’s Office of Grants whose persistent work and coordination among many city agencies made possible our success in winning this funding.”

The three awards seek to improve school safety, stem the “school-to-prison” pipeline and improve the educational and employment outcomes for young people, especially young men of color.  Mayor Nutter is co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s MBK Taskforce, which is focused on reducing racial disparity in the arrests and school discipline for young men of color and improves their chances for success in school.

“These programs are about improving our support for at-risk youth and creating opportunities for them to succeed,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. “Our goals are to help young men improve their work skills and support their educational aspirations.”

The School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts – $600,000 to the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania for the School Diversion Program:

In response to the nation’s growing “school-to-prison” pipeline and to address excessive school disciplinary practices and disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system, Philadelphia developed the innovative School Diversion Program.

First implemented in May, the School Diversion Program serves students who have committed first time low-level delinquent acts on or about school premises by diverting them from arrest and into Intensive Prevention Services for them and their families. During the 2013-2014 school year 1,555 children, aged 10 and over, were arrested on the premises of the School District of Philadelphia. The School Diversion Program aims to deliver a 50% reduction in the number of arrests of children and elimination of the racial disparity in these arrests and related school based disciplinary actions at the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Program partners include the Philadelphia Police Department,  the School District of Philadelphia, the City Department of Human Services, Good Shepherd Mediation Program and Drexel University as evaluation partner.

Through the School Justice Collaboration Program, the DOJ partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to address declining school climates and improve early detection of mental and behavioral health issues in youth. The City was only eligible to receive the School Justice Collaboration grant if the School District of Philadelphia received a School Climate Transformation grant.  Last Friday, the School District learned that it had been awarded the five-year $3.5 million School Climate Transformation grant. 

The Youth Opportunity Corps – $227,430 to PowerCorpPHL for program expansion:

PowerCorpsPHL is an innovative AmeriCorps program designed to address the Mayor’s sustainability initiatives as well as the City’s youth workforce development and violence prevention priorities. Partnering with EducationWorks and the Philadelphia Youth Network, PowerCorpsPHL annually enrolls 100 individuals, ages 18-26, in a 9-month program:  6 months of full-time service as AmeriCorps members with City departments followed by 3 months of intensive job placement support. This award will enable the program to serve annually 136 youth who will work in the City Parks and Recreation Department and the Philadelphia Water Department.

National Forum on Youth Violent Prevention (Forum) – $100,000 to the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative (YVPC) for program expansion:

Philadelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative (YVPC) was created in late 2012 when OJJDP selected Philadelphia as one of 10 cities participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The Collaborative’s mission, as detailed in its Youth Violence Prevention Strategy, is to prevent youth violence in North Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District by creating a safe environment that supports the development of healthy, thriving, productive citizens through a citywide multi-disciplinary approach to youth violence, aligning prevention, intervention, enforcement, reentry, and data & evaluation efforts.

About the Youth Opportunity Corps: OJJDP joined with CNCS to launch Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps. The program will enroll at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth in national service projects sponsored by the AmeriCorps program.

About the National Forum on Youth Violent Prevention (Forum): The Forum is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the Forum brings together people from diverse professions and perspectives to learn from each other about the crisis of youth and gang violence in the U.S. and to build comprehensive solutions on the local and national levels.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT

WHO:        Mayor Michael A. Nutter via video teleconference

WHAT:      City officials will announce that Philadelphia has been awarded a series of grants to address youth safety and youth violence

WHERE:   Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 202 City Hall

WHEN:      Monday, September 29, 2014           10:00 AM   TODAY

Posted in Media Advisory

MAYOR NUTTER RECEIVES REPORT FROM SPECIAL INDEPENDENT ADVISORY COMMISSION ON L&I

Philadelphia, September 25, 2014 –  Mayor Michael A. Nutter received the report, Safety First and Foremost, from the Special Independent Advisory Commission established to review and evaluate the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).  The report includes 37 recommendations for the Department, ranging from organizational to staffing and technology changes.

In addition, Mayor Nutter announced the creation of the L&I Implementation and Accountability Committee, which will convene on October 15th and will report on December 31st, to oversee potential organizational and statutory changes to the Department based on the Commission’s major recommendations.  Mayor Nutter also announced that he will shift L&I under the organizational oversight of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and created a new position related to L&I called the Chief Safety Officer, whose duties will be to develop safety plans and to enforce the Department’s safety standards and regulations related to construction and demolition.

“I thank the members of the Commission for working quickly and diligently to complete this report,” said Mayor Nutter.  “As the title of the report indicates, safety must always be our first and foremost concern.  In that spirit, I have decided   that it makes administrative and strategic sense to move L&I, an agency whose central task is ensuring public safety, under the portfolio of the Office of Public Safety.  I’m also creating a new position related to L&I called the Chief Safety Officer, who will report directly to the Deputy Mayor and will actively participate in the implementation process of the Special Commission’s recommendations.  Additionally, our Administration looks forward to evaluating those recommendations offered in the report in great detail – and to ensure that this process is done smartly, I am implementing one of the Commission recommendations right now: I am forming the L&I Implementation and Accountability Committee to assess each recommendation by posing the question: ‘is this change the best way to increase public safety?’, because that is the ultimate goal of these recommendations.”

The report includes three major proposals which would involve significant and complex changes to government operations: separating L&I into two new departments, a Department of Buildings and a Department of Business Compliance; enhancing L&I by doubling the number of inspectors; and transferring the responsibility for building fire safety inspections to the Fire Department.

“Today, the Mayor’s Special Independent Advisory Commission calls for a break from the past and a bold step forward for building safety in the City of Philadelphia,” said Glenn Corbett, Chairman of the Commission. “As it stands today, L&I is burdened with an ever-increasing set of responsibilities, many of which have nothing to do with building safety. In the wake of the tragedy at 22nd and Market Streets, our Commission is calling for the creation of a new Department of Buildings led by a licensed engineer or registered architect. Building safety must be job one in the new department.  We believe that our set of over 30 recommendations will help guide the City of Philadelphia in carrying out its’ fundamental public safety role.”

The Commission report also noted and endorsed many of the reforms that L&I has either implemented or is currently working on which were initiated by City Council ordinance or Mayoral Executive Order.  Some of those recommendations include full implementation and staffing of the Project eCLIPSE information system, building demolition safety legislation, and creation of a vacant property task force within L&I.

Download the full report.

Posted in Press Release

Mayor Nutter To Receive Report From Special Independent Advisory Commission On L&I

WHO:            Mayor Michael A. Nutter

WHAT:          Mayor Nutter will receive the report from the Special Independent Advisory Commission established to review and evaluate the Department of Licenses & Inspections.

WHERE:        Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 202 City Hall

WHEN:          Thursday, September 25, 2014             12:30 PM     TODAY

Posted in Media Advisory

MAYOR NUTTER’S STATEMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE CIGARETTE TAX

Philadelphia, September 23, 2014 –  Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement on the Pennsylvania Senate’s concurrence of the House of Representatives approved legislation enabling the City to enact a $2 per pack cigarette tax to help fund the School District of Philadelphia:

 

“I want to thank the Philadelphia House and Senate delegation and the entire Pennsylvania House and State Senate for adopting HB 1177.  Today’s vote is a step forward and the result of strong bi-partisan leadership in both the House and Senate, the Philadelphia delegation, and legislators across the Commonwealth.  I also want to thank Council President Darrell Clarke and all of City Council for their commitment to the children of Philadelphia in passing the Cigarette Tax in the spring of 2013.

 

The Philadelphia Cigarette Tax will provide critically important local revenue to the Philadelphia School District.  With this action today, the District will not have to make the painful decision to cut a thousand School District jobs.  But, I want to be clear: while the revenue generated by the Cigarette Tax was essential to balancing the District’s budget, it is not sufficient funding to provide the high-quality education that every Philadelphia student deserves.

 

We hope that the passage of this enabling legislation is only the beginning of a new approach to the fair and full funding of public education in Pennsylvania.  The students in this Commonwealth deserve a high-quality education with better than adequate resources, safe schools, and full staffs.  We need a statewide, student-weighted funding formula to ensure our students have access to the education they need to be successful.

 

I want to thank Governor Tom Corbett for his vocal support of this legislation throughout the process, and I am looking forward to him signing it into law in the near future.”

Posted in Education, Health, Mayor's Press Releases, Neighborhoods, Press Release, Topics
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