Members and friends of ALC Court Watch publish weekly articles on racialized data trends, eye-witness stories, abolition, and other court and carceral-related happenings and controversies in Allegheny County.

September 11, 2020

Racist Judge Tranquilli is a Symptom, not the Cause:

Sofia Huang

With protestors across the nation rising up against police brutality and the systematic targeting of Black and Brown people by law enforcement, it is time we also pay attention to the racism festering in other parts of our criminal justice system: the judiciary.

July 28, 2020

Court Watch Reflections:

Ines Borges and Maple Maloney

Our community has been completely deprived of our constitutional access since March.

June 22, 2020

Tranquilli is a racist.

Ines Borges

The Pennsylvania Judicial Board has neither confirmed nor denied if a current investigation into Judge Mark Tranquilli is being held – despite the never-ending list of his anti-Black court room remarks coming into the spotlight…

June 12, 2020

Movement for Black Lives and Renewal Inc.

Sophia Huang

Since our publication on Renewal halfway house’s defacto private prisons conditionsResidents are still trapped inside, for upwards of 70 days now, under the same cramped, lockdown conditions that do not allow for proper social distancing measures

May 26, 2020

Indentured to the Bondsman

Autumn Redcross with Man-E of Bukit Bail Fund

The United States and the Philippines are the only countries that allow for-profit bail companies. Charging only a percentage of the bail cost, bondsman companies post bail that is not refundable to the accused even once they show-up at court. Yet, payments to the bondsman continue until the debt is fulfilled…

May 20, 2020

There are children in jail.

Autumn Redcross with Dolly Prabhu, William Lukas

ALC Court Watch takes us to horrifying conditions of children’s jail cells in Allegheny County – and the legislation, courtroom practices, and cultural mythologies that make caging youth possible and commonplace… 

May 13, 2020

Renewal Halfway House: Pittsburgh’s De Facto Private Prison

Sofia Huang

Renewal, Inc., a private company contracted by the Department of Corrections (DOC), has been keeping individuals in lockdown in cramped quarters that do not conform to social distancing standards, stripping them of basic rights, and denying them medical attention. Individuals in the halfway house are essentially being treated as prisoners despite being reentrants reintegrating into society…

May 5, 2020

Parole, Reprieve and Commutation in the Failed State

Autumn Redcross, William Lukas

As abolitionists, it may feel contradictory to lionize the radical potentials of parole, reprieve, and commutation – some of the “master’s tools” that reinforce compliance with carceral logics. Yet these existing instruments of criminal law have the capacity to save thousands of lives during this pandemic and beyond…

April 24, 2020

A Case Against Arrest Culture and Jail Time

Autumn Redcross with Quinn Cozzens

“The system is not up to ensure either of these outcomes. Judges have broad discretion in deciding whether someone will remain in jail and they, along with prosecutor and probation offices, often rely on metrics that function to keep people of color and poor people incarcerated…”

April 22, 2020

MADE FOR THIS: Transcending Isolation with BIG LOU

interview with Alexander “Big Lou” Lewis by Autumn Redcross

The shutdowns and lockdowns amidst COVID-19 are restrictive and unfamiliar. You may feel imprisoned and you may feel its pressure. Big Lou knows how to transcend confinement and because of this, can help us find our way

April 14, 2020

He ought to be the last

Autumn Redcross

Richard Lenhart was 49 years old when he died last weekend at the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ). Authorities deny that his death was related to COVID-19, nor that it appeared “suspicious,” though this information is impossible to assess, since the jail has not announced the cause of death. What is not questioned, however, is the fact that Lenhart died in custody. He was said to be unresponsive when called for dinner at the ACJ…

April 11, 2020

Pandemic, Black Pittsburgh and AJC

Autumn Redcross

Black people in the United States are contracting and dying from complications due to coronavirus at disproportionately high rates. This is reflective of historical inequalities attributed to underlying medical conditions – emerging from embodied racism, anti-Black policies, and socioeconomic systems…