Author

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.

State watchdog scolds Newark for $5.4M ‘illegal’ ice rink upgrade

By: - September 1, 2021

The Office of the State Comptroller accused the city of Newark Wednesday of illegally awarding a no-bid, $5.4 million contract to a private, New Jersey Devils-related firm to renovate a public ice rink, with investigators saying this was the third time since 2008 the city broke state laws intended to protect taxpayer dollars and avoid […]

N.J. prisons get so-so grade on pandemic response — but still the best in the U.S.

By: - September 1, 2021

A civil rights group that graded prisons nationwide on how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic gave New Jersey a ‘C’ — and blasted the response of correctional facilities around the country as “a shameful failure.” New Jersey’s mediocre grade was the best in a bad showing by all states, which are “failing on even the […]

Reformers eye N.J.’s top court in push for shorter prison terms for juvenile offenders

By: - August 31, 2021

When Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver recently signed a new law intended to divert juvenile lawbreakers away from prison, a long line of legislators gave speeches to declare there are no disposable children in New Jersey and kids who make mistakes deserve a second chance. But reformers say that’s not true in New Jersey for juveniles […]

Groups demand protections for transgender inmates in county jails

By: - August 27, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and Garden State Equality on Thursday urged officials running jails in New Jersey’s 21 counties to house inmates by their gender identity, not the gender they were assigned at birth. The civil rights groups, which made their plea in a letter to the state’s jail wardens, noted […]

Thousands of Afghan refugees expected at McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst military base

By: - August 24, 2021

Thousands of refugees fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan will begin arriving this week at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, Biden administration officials said in a press briefing Tuesday afternoon. At least 25,000 refugees will be sheltered at the Burlington County military base and three other facilities — Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Lee in […]

Midwives ask state to end physician oversight as home births rise

By: - August 24, 2021

Jillian Bostock gave birth to both of her babies at home with the help of a midwife, dodging the constant cervical checks, needle jabs, and beeping machinery that come with a hospital birth. “Hospitals are full of interventions. At home, I don’t have to fight for bodily autonomy,” said Bostock, of Wall Township. She wants […]

Hunger crisis may loom as emergency food assistance ends

By: - August 20, 2021

As pandemic protections like eviction and foreclosure moratoriums near their end, pundits and policymakers have warned about the expected impact on homelessness. But advocates for New Jersey’s poorest residents warn that federal emergency food assistance provided during the pandemic will go away soon too, and a recent bump in food stamp benefits won’t help enough […]

As childhood hunger rises, calls grow for free meals in schools for all

By: - August 18, 2021

Before the pandemic, Angeline Dean arranged a field trip to the Trenton Statehouse for students — mostly kids of color — to see lawmakers who looked like them in action. The community organizer hoped the trip would inspire them to dream grand futures for themselves. One child had a question. “He asked: ‘Will there be […]

N.J Supreme Court says courts should collect jury demographic data

By: - August 16, 2021

New Jersey’s top court ruled Monday a convicted attempted arsonist failed to prove the trial court’s primarily virtual, hybrid jury-selection process deprived him of a jury representative of his diverse community. The case represents one of the first challenges to whether a defendant can get a fair trial when the pandemic has pushed so much […]

Newark still tops among New Jersey’s biggest cities

By: - August 12, 2021

Newark is keeping its crown as New Jersey’s biggest city, surpassing the 300,000 mark in total population for the first time in four decades, according to numbers the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday. The Brick City saw its citizenry soar 12% in the past decade to 311,549 residents, according to the new figures. Leaders of […]

New law aims to slash youth incarceration, expand community supports

By: - August 12, 2021

Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver on Wednesday signed legislation that will pump $8.4 million into a two-year restorative justice program supporters say will keep kids out of jail and erase racial disparities in New Jersey’s expensive juvenile justice system. The money will fund community-based services intended to do two things: resolve conflicts before they lead to incarceration […]

Police can’t secretly record phone calls, N.J.’s top court rules in win for privacy advocates

By: - August 10, 2021

Law enforcement in New Jersey cannot secretly record telephone calls made in police stations or use any information they hear in such calls because surreptitious recordings violate constitutionally protected privacy rights, the New Jersey Supreme Court decreed in a ruling issued Tuesday. In writing the unanimous decision, Justice Barry T. Albin said a police station […]