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Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney retires

Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney retires, prisons spokesperson says
Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney retires, prisons spokesperson says 00:25

PHILADEPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney announced her resignation from the department Monday afternoon, according to a Philadelphia prisons spokesperson. 

Commissioner Carney's decision to step down is tied to retirement reasons and is effective April 5, the spokesperson told CBS News Philadelphia. 

"Commissioner Carney led the system under times of great stress and duress. There will be no shortage of second-guessing her performance," Mayor Cherelle Parker said in a statement. "However, I have a great deal of respect for the job the Commissioner has done. We wish her well, and thank her for the dedication she has demonstrated to our City."

Carney made history as the first female prisons commissioner in Philadelphia in 2016, where she worked to lower the prison population and focused on the rehabilitative side of incarceration.

The trailblazer was a graduate of Lincoln University and Bryn Mawr College. She started her career in the Philadelphia prison system back in 1995 as a social worker.

According to the city of Philadelphia, Carney was significant in implementing gender-responsive training for correctional officers, treatment staff and contractors. 

"When we're providing re-entry services, we really want those folks that are high risk, a threat to public safety, they have to come into custody, but we also have the responsibility to prepare folks," Carney said in April 2016 after she was appointed to former Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's administration.

Carney had an action-packed last year as the Philadelphia region experienced its fair share of prison escapes in the last 10 months. The rise in prison escapes began when Ameen Hurst and Nasir Grant fled the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center in Holmesburg in May 2023. 

In December 2023, another inmate, Gino Hagenkotter, escaped from the Riverside Correctional Facility which is behind the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center. 

A month later, Shayne Pryor, a 17-year-old inmate at the Juvenile Justice Center charged with murder, escaped custody while at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia receiving treatment for a hand injury. 

Most recently in February, Alleem Bordan escaped police custody after he was taken to Temple's Episcopal campus in Kensington. Bordan was taken to the hospital for treatment after saying he was in pain while he was in custody. 

Bordan was later captured by the U.S. Marshals in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 

"Our prisons system is in transition, as are many prisons nationwide. The Parker administration is committed to making every change needed to implement a well-run prison system," Parker said in a statement. "A national search is underway. I anticipate an announcement of a new prisons commissioner soon."

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