Juliette Rihl is a reporter for PublicSource focusing on mental health and health. She also writes stories for Develop PGH, a PublicSource reporting desk focused on economic development. She was selected to be a 2019 Justice Reporting Fellow as part of the John Jay Fellowship on "Cash Register Justice." Before joining PublicSource, she taught English in Taichung, Taiwan, as a Fulbright scholar. She is also a graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, during which she worked as a consultant for several nonprofit, government and startup entities in Pittsburgh. Juliette graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017.
Pittsburgh City Council voted Tuesday to regulate the use of facial recognition and predictive policing technologies by city entities, including the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police [PBP]. The legislation requires city council approval of such technologies before they are acquired or used, except in “an emergency situation.”
On Tuesday, a law firm and two legal aid nonprofits jointly filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Allegheny County and three top officials of the Allegheny County Jail [ACJ], alleging “inadequate” treatment and “dehumanizing and unlawful” conditions for inmates with psychiatric disabilities. According to the lawsuit, the jail’s practices violate the Fourteenth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The lawsuit claims the jail does not provide meaningful treatment for individuals with mental health diagnoses and instead uses solitary confinement, irritant spray, a restraint chair and other forceful tactics. “The mental health care system at the Allegheny County Jail is rife with systemic deficiencies that deprive people with psychiatric disabilities of necessary care, and indeed, make their conditions worse,” the federal court complaint said.
The suit was brought against the county and Warden Orlando Harper, Chief Deputy Warden of Healthcare Services Laura Williams and Mental Health Director Michael Barfield on behalf of five plaintiffs who are currently incarcerated and have psychiatric disabilities, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs are represented by Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and the Abolitionist Law Center.
No personal visitors, hardly any time for inmates outside of their cells and chronic vacancies in mental health and health staff raise concerns that the mental health of Allegheny County Jail [ACJ] inmates is deteriorating, according to inmates recently incarcerated there, family members of current inmates, advocates and current and former ACJ staff.
More than six and a half years into his administration, and expecting to face challengers from both sides of the political spectrum in his 2021 bid for reelection, Mayor Bill Peduto is frank about the gap between his policing platform and the bureau’s actions.
Banning chokeholds, prohibiting the acquisition of military equipment and implementing a hiring freeze are some of the recent steps Pittsburgh city council has taken to reform the city’s police. But do council members think they’re enough? And what more can they do?
When it comes to mental health, it’s easy to assume babies are too young to have complex emotions, experience intense stress or become depressed. Yet research shows otherwise: infant mental health reveals a lot about babies’ emotional needs, especially in the age of coronavirus.
My husband and I lived in the United States for 18 years and proudly called Pittsburgh home for most of them. We’d built our lives and careers there: I worked as an entrepreneur, consultant and, most recently, the director of strategy at UPMC Enterprises, developing cutting-edge healthcare solutions. My husband worked for the University of Pittsburgh as a software engineer, then at UPMC Enterprises as the senior director of product management.
Yet despite our love of Pittsburgh and our contributions to the region, we couldn’t find a way to stay. After 12 years of unsuccessful attempts to become permanent U.S. residents — applying for green cards and visas, petitioning Congress to pass fairer immigration laws, even twice accepting invitations to the White House — the pandemic finally sealed our decision to leave.
In March, the Department of State stopped processing visas altogether, a sign that it was time to move on. We finally did what we’d been trying to avoid for years: we left Pittsburgh and moved to Canada.
viral video showing the arrest of a protester by plainclothes police in an unmarked van in Pittsburgh on Saturday has incited outcry from activists, civil rights attorneys, elected officials and residents.