Harris, Criminal Justice Reform Caucus chairs receive Prize for Civility in Public Life in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – Along with the other three chairs of the Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Reform Caucus, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip, received the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life award on Monday evening.

“It’s incredibly humbling to receive an award that has been given to such great figures in American politics as Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain, Congressmen Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lindsay Graham, the Women of the United States Senate, and Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia,” Harris said. “Civility in politics is essential to ensuring that we are able to accomplish our goals and properly represent those who elect us to serve. It’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable, and this ability to be civil helps us work together when we find common ground. Success found through bipartisanship can inspire other lawmakers to follow the same path and restore civility to our political process.”

Joining Harris in accepting this award were state Sens. Camera Bartolotta, R-Beaver, Greene, Washington, and Art Haywood, D-Montgomery/Phila., as well as state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland.

Bartolotta, Haywood, Delozier and Harris founded the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus in January 2019 to build on the success of the passage of the Clean Slate Act – a first of its kind law that will help former, non-violent offenders who have learned from their past mistakes get a second chance by automatically sealing criminal records that are 10 years old or older. The caucus aims to advance policies that address issues such as barriers to employment in the occupational licensure system; education and workforce skills during incarceration; probation and parole issues; and programs focused on successful rehabilitation and re-entry into society.

Allegheny College created the Prize for Civility in Public Life to honor public officials from both sides of the aisle who conduct themselves with noteworthy civility. The prize has been awarded nationally since 2012 and in Pennsylvania since 2017.

“Civil discourse is at the heart of our democracy,” Harris said. “Being able to disagree without being disagreeable is patriotism. We are stronger because of our diversity in race, color, geography and ideals. Consensus is not a bad word, but complacency is. Let’s focus more on where we agree and move forward together from there. Our constituents depend on it and deserve it.”