Everett Gillison- Mayor’s Chief of Staff, City of Philadelphia

   I was at the Defenders’ Association for 23 years straight as an attorney, up until the time the Mayor asked me to be Deputy Mayor of public safety.  Because of my experience in the criminal justice system he thought that I would have a understanding not only of what criminogenic issues are, but also public safety in a broader sense. So not just police issues, not just court issues, not just DA issues, not just sheriff issues, not just probation and parole. Having an understanding and intimate knowledge of all of those folks gave me one perspective but then opening up myself to homeland security issues to fire issues to office emergency management issues and then to really invest in the office, which was known as MORE: Mayor’s Office of ReEntry.  What we have now, we branded and read into the prison system but to make reentry of individuals coming back to society part and parcel of what a good jail / corrections facility should do. You can’t have them being divorced, the minute someone walks into jail the minute someone gets a sentence, that’s the minute they need to start preparing to get back out.

 Commissioner Ramsey has it absolutely right that you have to put the community first to get true policing. But even more so, you have to be willing to do what Commissioner Giorla said what we have to do. Jails need to be in the position of putting themselves out of business. It is a different model than isolation, degradation, and security. It doesn’t work, that model, the Quaker penitentiary model, what most corrections have been based on since it was started here literally on 23rd and Fairmount. That model was a worldwide phenomenon when it was started but it is one of the things that Philadelphia exported to the rest of the world that we found out really doesn’t work well. What really needs to happen is that there has to be more of a basis of people working together  to correct and to keep the person that needs the extra support to stay in community. You want to make good penance you don’t want to go to a penitentiary . You don’t want to sit down and say that you were correcting people to live within the four walls of an institution and make them better prisoners . You want to be able to support people in their walk that they have as people going forward.

Everett Gillison- Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the City of Philadelphia. 

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