Dana DiFilippo

As city jail deaths rise, will reforms help?

November 3, 2015 | Dana DiFilippo | Philadelphia Daily News

Jamella Parks had been hooked on drugs for nearly three decades before she tried to sneak $68.52 worth of toiletries out of a Logan Rite Aid in January. It was far from her first arrest: Her record is riddled with crimes, mostly misdemeanors like prostitution and shoplifting, she committed to feed an addiction she couldn't shake.

This time, though, the arrest would be her death sentence.

Although she could have been freed on just $300 cash bail, the 43-year-old North Philly woman instead spent nearly six months behind bars before dying, in custody, of cancer.

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