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.

Unemployment benefits, intended to offset pandemic impact, to end this weekend

By: - September 3, 2021

Federal unemployment benefits expanded during the coronavirus pandemic will expire Saturday in New Jersey. The benefits, which supplemented regular unemployment assistance and were extended to those who typically were ineligible, were established under the federal CARES Act in March 2020 and renewed twice, in December 2020 and again in March. Programs that will expire are: […]

Courts begin to hear long-stalled eviction cases

By: - September 2, 2021

New Jersey’s eviction moratorium for middle-income renters ended Wednesday, with courts starting to hear some of the 83,800-plus residential eviction cases landlords have filed since the start of the pandemic. But there is no tidal wave of people losing their homes and getting booted onto the street. Yet. Instead, the process started with settlement conferences. […]

N.J. pols won’t act on abortion bill, despite Murphy’s urging and Texas ban

By: - September 1, 2021

After a near-total abortion ban went into effect in Texas Wednesday, alarming abortion rights advocates who fear the Texas law foreshadows a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Gov. Murphy called on the Legislature to act to protect abortion rights in New Jersey. But Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly said they will […]

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 […]