Reducing Default Judgments in Philadelphia’s Landlord-Tenant Court

Over half of the “legal” evictions that occur in Philadelphia result from default judgments entered against tenants who did not appear for their court hearings. The causes for the high default rate are many, but some of them are rooted in the court’s own procedures — which should be changed.

The Cost of Buying Freedom: Strategies for Cash Bail Reform and Eliminating Systemic Injustice

Justice Lab students John Farrell, Paige Joki, and Adorah Nworah have authored The Cost of Buying Freedom: Strategies for Cash Bail Reform and Eliminating Systemic Injustice, on behalf of Redeemed PA, a community organization advocating for criminal justice reform.

This report outlines the dangers of the cash bail system to Pennsylvania communities and justice systems, as well as the enormous burden it places on the state. It also lays out achievable methods of reform, including immediate steps that Philadelphia can take to end cash bail today.

Working in conjunction with Redeemed PA, Justice Lab students researched Pennsylvania law, Philadelphia practices, comparative jurisdictions, and gathered community input to capture the failures of the cash bail system, the racial and economic inequality it perpetuates in Philadelphia, its failure to keep our communities safe, and the fact that Philadelphia can stop this practice today.

Cash bail forces thousands of people into jails where they lose jobs, opportunity, and family support. Cash bail does not make our communities safer. Instead, it makes freedom available only to those who can buy it. More effective, less expensive alternatives are available. This report details how Philadelphia can act immediately to end cash bail, save taxpayer dollars, aid public safety, and move thousands of lives forward.