The Philadelphia Inquirer

Each night, Philly jails release scores of inmates without returning their IDs, cash or phones

According to data obtained and analyzed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, 73% of all inmates released from Philadelphia jails from April 2017 to April 2018 — more than 16,000 prisoners — were discharged after the cashier’s offices had closed, leaving them without any identification, cash, phone or other possessions for hours or even days. The offices are closed on weekends.

Ruth Shefner, SP2 alum and director of the School’s Goldring Reentry Initiative, weighs in on the discharge procedure for inmates.

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New York Post

Cuomo needs to veto this bill that puts kids at risk

Currently, New York state requires “some credible evidence” of maltreatment, but if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill, workers would have to find a “preponderance of evidence” before bringing a case to court.

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery claims “parents are charged with neglect essentially because the family is in poverty” and we need to provide “support to families in crisis” instead of “punishing them for being poor.”

But neglect is often a sign that something else is awry, says Richard Gelles, the former head of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice. There are dysfunctions in the family that come to public attention,” but they sometimes stop short of abuse.


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Making Gun Violence A “Mental Health” Issue Will Only Cause More Harm, Experts Say

In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Susan B. Sorenson of the School of Social Policy & Practice says, “There’s been so much talk, there’s been so much conversation. At some point, there’s enough talking and our elected officials need to take action.”

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The New York Times

Why Trump’s Cruelty Doesn’t Deter Migrants

In a recent op-ed, Fernando Chang-Muy, lecturer at SP2 and Penn Law, recalls discussions he and a Penn Law student had with Hondurans this summer regarding harsh U.S. asylum policies.

“We aimed not to influence decisions about fleeing but rather to inform potential asylum seekers of the legal obstacles they would face, and the rights to which they are entitled, if they chose to make the trip north.”

Chang-Muy is also a former legal officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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The Outline

Dear God, Let us Pray on Whether to Tax Churches

Churches have been exempt from paying property taxes since the colonial days, a tradition inspired by medieval English law. In 1864, U.S. churches were officially lumped in with “charitable” organizations, exempting them from income tax as well. The Internal Revenue Service grants all churches 501(c)(3) status, like other U.S. nonprofits. In addition to property and income tax exemptions, taxpayers subsidize clergy housing and perks like free parking.

There have been a few voices of protest about the exemptions over the years, but nothing major. According to Ram Cnaan, the director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, politicians never stand on a church-taxing pedestal for long.

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Fox News

In tight job market, companies look to ex-offenders to fill jobs

Ex-offenders and other workers who often struggle to find jobs are now getting a second look, according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, which surveyed more than 2,000 corporate managers and HR executives nationwide on their attitudes about ex-offenders.

Dr. Ioana Marinescu, economist and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice, weighs in on the labor market and the benefits of securing employment for this population.

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Sen. Casey pushes to end ‘boyfriend loophole’ in domestic abuse bill over NRA objections

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania wants Congress to reauthorize a lapsed law that helps victims of domestic abuse over objections from the National Rifle Association that an added provision could deprive the rights of gun owners.

The added measure closes the “boyfriend loophole” by preventing those convicted of abusing or stalking a current or former dating partner from buying or owning a gun.

Women are more than twice as likely to be shot and killed by a male partner than injured by a stranger, according to Susan Sorenson, a University of Pennsylvania professor whose research focuses on firearms and violence against women.

Sorenson, who was among the panelists who spoke with Casey, said ending the loophole for dating partners is a crucial step toward protecting women, who also die from gun violence at rates higher than other developed countries.

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KYW Newsradio

Victims of domestic abuse urge Senate to renew VAWA with new previsions

Local domestic violence survivors and advocates gathered on the University of Pennsylvania campus to highlight the importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Currently, VAWA is in the U.S. Senate, where it faces opposition among National Rifle Association supported politicians. The measure did pass the House.

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School of Social Policy & Practice 2019 Teaching Awards

The 2019 SP2 Teaching Awards recognized several exceptional educators and students recently, including SP2 standing faculty member, Roberta Iversen, and SP2 part-time faculty member, Jane Abrams.

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SP2 News

Faculty & Research

SP2 Faculty Member Testifies Before Congress on Competition in U.S. Labor Markets

Ioana Marinescu, PhD, assistant professor at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, recently provided testimonial before Congress during a...

Cover image for The Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s “We the People: A Philanthropic Guide to Strengthening Democracy”

Faculty & Research, Gifts & Giving

A Philanthropic Approach to Strengthening Democracy

For the past several decades, there’s been a marked decline in how much U.S. citizens trust the country’s democratic process....

Raekwon Burton

Student Life, Global Engagement

MSW Student Reflects on Transformative Experience in India

Prior to enrolling in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2),...

Dr. Jerri Bourjolly

Faculty & Research, Student Life

SP2 Task Force on Race and Social Justice

Earlier this year, Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) launched the SP2 Task Force on Race and Social...

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