Broad coalition sets broad goals for Pa. prison reform

    A new coalition says Pennsylvania must take steps to divert more criminals to programs outside of prison and to speed up the process of paroling inmates eligible for release.

    Coalition leaders held a Capitol news briefing Monday.
    The group includes former Democratic Gov. George Leader, state Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and leaders of groups across the political spectrum including the Commonwealth Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

    The group called for speeding up the release of prisoners who are approved for parole but who now wait an average 100 days to be let out of prison.

    It also advocates expanding special courts, such as those for drug offenders, and identifying high- and low-risk prisoners as part of sentencing.

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