PHILADELPHIA – Ahead of the Democratic National Convention and in accordance with the City’s MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge grant, Mayor Kenney signed a bill today to decriminalize nuisance offenses. The legislation, introduced by Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., ensures that individuals who would have otherwise been given a criminal summary citation for Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Disperse, Public Drunkenness, or Obstructing the Highway, will now be issued a lesser, civil penalty, or a ticket. Criminal Justice leadership, including District Attorney Seth Williams, President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper, Administrative Judge Jacqueline Allen, Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, and Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., were present to witness the signing. This legislation is expected to remove 10,000 cases per year from the criminal justice system.
“This amendment improves fundamental fairness,” said Mayor Kenney “Since Philadelphia recently started using civil citations to enforce marijuana possession, other lower-level offenses should also be punished less severely than they currently are. The amendments being recommended will go a long way to instill this notion of fairness and it is simply the right thing to do for our citizens.”
“This is being ‘Smart on Crime.’ it will prevent many Philadelphians from getting criminal records that reduce job opportunities and will allow us to focus on more serious offenders,” added District Attorney R. Seth Williams.