Commissioner Louis Giorla

When I started there were about 2700, 3000 people under our supervision. Now there is 9000 over the last couple of years we’ve hit close to 10000. It’s hard to anticipate the future in prisons, even though we try and project populations and look at the legal posture in society at the time, to try and more or less make an educated guess on where our population is going to go and the best services are to provide. We’re usually playing catch up. Resources follow playing catch up, so the biggest challenge has been providing security and services to increased population.

We have two distinct populations. One is pretrial, those who are being detained for criminal trial because they can’t make bail or have multiple holds. The other is sentenced individuals. Up until 2010 we housed sentenced individuals who had up to 1 day less than 5 years on their sentence. Anything over 2 years in the state of PA is known as a state sentence, but county judges could order inmates with 5 years into our custody to remain here for their sentence. The law was changed in 2008, it became fully effective in 2010 we moved that authority. So we moved a significant number of those state inmates back into state custody. As far as the time they spent here, sentenced inmates can spend a maximum of one day less than 2 years on a county sentence and if they have multiple county sentences, they may spend longer or if they were here pretrial before being sentenced and they didn’t get a credit for their time depending on the case they may spend longer. Maybe 2 to 3 years. Pretrial defendants is another story. it depends on the type of case and the complications that result. We have homicide defendants who have had very complicated cases and have spent 7 years here pretrial. The average homicide defendant spends about two and a half years to three years pretrial here, so, in some cases, the pretrial defendants spend more time then the sentenced individuals.

Louis Giorla
Commissioner, Philadelphia Prison System
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

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