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Secretary Wetzel Participates In Benjamin Franklin Event Panel on Criminal Justice

Philadelphia, PA – Corrections Secretary John Wetzel on Friday participated in a panel on criminal justice reform as part of the annual Celebration! Of Benjamin Franklin, Founder.

The event was established to bring international attention to the legacy of Benjamin Franklin as a reformer and to promote the relevance of his ideas today.

Franklin, who as early as 1787 recognized the need for reform in the criminal justice system, helped create The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (now the Pennsylvania Prison Society).

The theme for the panel discussion at the American Philosophical Society was "Liberty and Justice for All, Reforming America’s Criminal Justice System."

“The Wolf administration has moved forward with an ambitious reform agenda over the past four years,” said Secretary Wetzel. “Whether you are talking about addressing the growing population with mental illness and drug addiction, developing programs for veterans or better preparing individuals for reentry, we believe the DOC agenda embraces the spirit of Benjamin Franklin.”

Joining Secretary Wetzel on the panel were Bruce Western, sociology professor and co-director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University, Marie Gottschalk, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Tyrone Werts, Think Tank Coordinator for Inside Out Prison Exchange.

The 2019 event honored Bill Keller, founding editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that focuses on the U.S. criminal justice system.

MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, 717-728-4026,

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