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.

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 […]

Major police discipline now publicly reported in N.J. — but is it enough?

By: - August 10, 2021

Monday was supposed to be the start of a “new chapter” in police accountability in New Jersey. That was the deadline the state Attorney General’s Office set for the state’s 500-plus law enforcement agencies to publicly report major police disciplinary actions. But the disclosures contain scant details. And some stragglers haven’t yet gotten their reports […]

Affordable housing key for N.J. to prevent homelessness spike, official says

By: - August 9, 2021

With some experts predicting the pandemic could increase homelessness nationally worse than the Great Recession did in 2008, the head of New Jersey’s Office of Homelessness Prevention says the state must create more affordable housing to keep people off streets here. “Housing is health care. We have to create a pipeline of affordable housing, because […]

As school year nears, calls grow for a vaccine mandate for teachers

By: - August 6, 2021

With school set to start in-person in most New Jersey districts in a month, superintendents are busy announcing all the safety measures they hope will keep COVID-19 away and prevent a return to remote learning. Largely missing from that messaging is any report on how many teachers are still not vaccinated — and whether they […]

Court monitor gives N.J. child welfare system positive review

By: - August 5, 2021

Twenty-two years after advocates filed a sweeping class-action lawsuit to reform New Jersey’s overburdened, mismanaged, and occasionally deadly child welfare system, a court-appointed monitor Wednesday reported that the system has improved so much it’s now regarded as a model nationally. The state Department of Children and Families (DCF) met 44 of its 48 performance targets, […]

From public art to police oversight, N.J. looks to right its racist past

By: - August 4, 2021

New Jersey may not be the first state that springs to mind when considering the history of slavery and systemic racism. But the ugliness emerges after even a cursory probe into the past. The Garden State was the last of the Northern states to abolish slavery, initially rejecting the Thirteenth Amendment. Perth Amboy was one […]