PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP) issued the following update on safety measures underway in the aftermath of the murder of 20-year-old Rodney Hargrove upon his release from a PDP facility. PDP’s internal investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.
“The Philadelphia Department of Prisons remains shocked and horrified that Rodney Hargrove, a 20-year-old Black male who was released on bail, was murdered on our grounds,” said Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney. “We recognize that this murder erodes public trust in the safety and operations of PDP facilities and causes great concern for the families and friends of those employed at the PDP and those in our custody. In response to this awful crime and to further the safety of everyone involved, PDP is taking numerous steps to augment perimeter security and, in partnership with other stakeholders, explore augmentation of the bail release process.”
This brazen murder on PDP campus has resulted in additional security measures being taken to protect the staff and the population. These measures include the installation of additional cameras and license plate readers at the parking lot entrances of Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CCF), Detention Center, and the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC). The license plate readers will track all vehicles entering and exiting the front gate of each facility. These additional security measures will enhance the work of the PDP’s correctional officers who are the first line of defense. PDP will continue to post correctional officers at each front gate entrance, vehicle detail on the main parking lot, and continuous vehicle perimeter patrols. Footage from cameras and license plate readers will be used for investigations and as evidence to potentially criminally charge individuals for any unlawful act committed on the PDP campus.
Bail Release Process
Mr. Hargrove’s bail was paid at 10:30 p.m. on March 17, 2021 and he was killed after 1 a.m. on March 18, 2021 on PDP grounds. PDP is exploring with its legal counsel and other criminal justice partners the feasibility of reconsidering access to bail processing 24 hours a day. PDP is also exploring funding for ride sharing services for those instances when public transportation ceases operation and individuals express that they do not have access to private transportation for late night bail releases.
PDP has no control over when bail is posted and upon receipt of the bail release order begins the process to effectuate the release. However, PDP has made significant progress in releasing individuals from custody during daylight hours, where they have more access to public transportation and may be picked up by friends and/or family. PDP reviewed its bail paid releases for the period of May 1, 2016 through September 30, 2019, and found of the 15,737 bail paid releases, 7,771 were processed for release during the 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Comparably, the review for the period of October 1, 2019 through March 24, 2021 found, that of the 4,569 bail paid releases, 966 were processed for release during the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
PDP cannot legally detain a person who has been released from incarceration either through court order or bail being posted. The process for that individual’s release must begin whenever the order or bail posting is received. PDP does not have a dedicated area to hold individuals once bail has been posted. Moreover, PDP cannot hold an individual after bail has been posted should they choose to leave.
PDP remains committed to ensuring the safety of its staff, inmate population and exploring additional security measures.