State Senator Art Haywood issued the following statement on hateful emails allegedly sent and received by employees and former employees within Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system:

HARRISBURG, 8 December 2015: “The possibility of corruption revealed by the hateful and degrading emails allegedly sent and received within Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system must be addressed. These emails, rife with sexism, racism, and homophobia, expose the possibility of a criminal justice system tainted with a dehumanizing level of bias. The network of bias may extend from prosecutors to defense attorneys to judges and law enforcement officers. This bias within criminal justice may exist beyond Pennsylvania, in other states and cities across our nation. Recent reports of such bias in Chicago have heightened the need for further scrutiny and action in response to allegations of corruption in our own criminal justice system.

If the debasement of human beings has become a part of the culture of our criminal justice system, then a process for confronting this spiritual challenge and recovering the humanity of these offices is needed. In order to maintain our soul as a commonwealth, the appearance, let alone the possible presence, of such hateful attitudes and conduct within our criminal justice system must be properly addressed. A thorough independent investigation, along with increased oversight of law enforcement agencies, is required, in addition to new standards for recruitment, selection and retention of law enforcement officials that will weed out bias. Our commonwealth cannot be asked to tolerate the corruption and hate demonstrated by these emails. The degradation of community members by public officials is absolutely unacceptable.”


Contact: Melissa Ostroff