PAPERBOY EXTRA! Today I Saw Jeff Deeney On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone Philadelphia Weekly

[Click image to activate Internet] RELATED: CLICK TO ENLARGE JEFF DEENEY SAYS: The two remaining legal graffiti spaces I know of are on Carpenter Street between 12th and 13th and at 49th and Westminster Street in West Philly. There are likely more than these; those with more knowledge of the city’s graffiti scene can feel free to chime in and school us. Please link more photos if you’ve got them. According to BESO the walls around 12th and Carpenter are open to anyone who wants to paint there but at 49th and Westminster, not so much. I think the quality […]

PAPERBOY EXTRA! Today I Saw Jeff Deeney On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone The Philadelphia Weekly

BY AMY Z. QUINN Today I saw Phawker’s own Jeff Deeney rockin’ the cover of this week’s Philadelphia Weekly! Of course we’re happy for him, but the story itself is sad and sickening — and I know Deeney will understand the compliment that’s in there — elaborating what happened on Hurley Street, said to be the city’s worst, before and after one of the city’s shootings this summer. It’s one of those stories about how people trying to live and raise children in Philadelphia live in a literal war zone, and how a block rots from the inside out while […]


[Illustration by Alex Fine] BY JEFF DEENEY “Today I saw…” is a series of nonfiction shorts based on my experiences as a caseworker serving formerly homeless families now living in North and West Philadelphia. I decided not long after starting the job that I was seeing so many fascinating and disturbing things in the city?s poorest neighborhoods that I needed to start cataloging them. I hope this bi-weekly column serves as a record of a side of the city that many Philadelphians don’t come in contact with on a daily basis. I want to capture moments not frequently covered by […]

DEENEY: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

  THE ATLANTIC: In 2012, an officer was arrested for selling heroin; he was one of 40-some officers charged with corruption after the “Tainted Justice” investigation. That may be evidence that “Tainted Justice” sparked more oversight, but more likely it’s an indication that police corruption has continued with abandon despite it. Last year, Jeffrey Walker, another rogue narc-squad officer in West Philly, was charged with robbing drug dealers. He pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Courthouse insiders say that Walker will finger as many as 15 dirty cops who are still on the streets. The city’s capacity for […]

DEENEY: The Antivirals Of Violence

  BY JEFF DEENEY FOR THE NATION CeaseFire works through aggressive peer-led street outreach by ex-offenders with deep ties to the community, who gather intelligence on gangs in order to spot potential conflicts. Such conflicts are then mediated by the program’s famed violence “Interrupters.” At its peak, CeaseFire Chicago employed fifty outreach workers and fifty Interrupters, chosen from pools of candidates screened by professional and community panels to ensure they’d left the hustling life. Statisticians analyze the data gathered by outreach teams alongside data tracking violence collected by law enforcement, identifying up-to-the-moment crime hot spots, and focusing the program’s resources […]

DEENEY: OccupyPhilly Has Its Head Up Its Ass About Feeding The Homeless On The Parkway

[Photo by ROBIN ODLAND] BY JEFF DEENEY Back in 2007 part of my job as a social worker was doing street outreach on the Parkway where I encouraged the homeless to come to the day center where I worked to access social services.  The agency I worked for was always sure to have an outreach person on scene during the public feedings by local faith groups and other volunteers.  The crowds for feedings were thick, and since my instructions were to never interrupt people who were eating or rouse people who were sleeping, working the lines of people waiting for […]

DEENEY: Scenes From My (Non-Celebrity) Rehab

  EDITOR’S NOTE: The following are excerpts from a longer piece that Phawker contributor Jeff Deeney wrote for the website The Fix about his own experience in rehab. The kind of rehab you go to when you can’t afford health insurance. * Four beds are crammed into a tiny room, their mattresses encased in bodily fluid–proof rubber and covered in thin, ratty sheets. Dusty dorm furniture in disrepair is shoved in a corner. The common area reeks of sweat and stale smoke. An antique television with a wire-hanger antenna plays grainy tapes from a comically outdated video library. Extra folding […]

DEENEY: On Race, Sobriety And The Good Lord

BY JEFF DEENEY: Susan was a crack addict and prostitute whose life was saved by Jesus Christ. That’s what she would say when you met her; she had no compunction about sharing details of her sordid past because the Lord cleansed those sins from her. Christ may have removed the sins but he left much of Susan otherwise unchanged after she got clean; at 35, she looked at least a decade older, her graying hair matched by a haggard expression—all testimony to her many years on the Philadelphia streets. She still had a hot temper and a foul mouth lacing sentences with […]


THE FIX: Over the past few years waves of drug-hysteria stories about new synthetic substances have flooded the media; headlines shouted that emerging drugs like the stimulant mephedrone were being sold legally, marketed as “bath salts” body products and wreaking havoc on the minds of drug abusers. Even as legislators scrambled to ban this demonized new test-tube high, habitual substance abusers in drug-soaked inner cities like Philly shrugged. Who needs bath salts when you can get whatever you want, whenever you want, at high potency and low cost on one of the city’s hundreds of drug corners? But one new […]

DEENEY: Crack Is In The House

THE FIX: On this particular Monday morning the voice on the other end of the phone identified herself as a high-ranking official at the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Why was she calling me, I asked? I’m just a rank-and-file, trench-level social worker. She had a last-minute addition to my caseload: a four-year-old child belonging to a mentally ill, addicted mother, living in a public housing unit that had been converted to a crackhouse. It was my job to go find him. Now, 911, high risk, no time to waste. I’ve certainly heard crazier war stories from longtime vets in the profession; […]

DEENEY: How I Got Blackballed From Radio Times

[Illustration by ALEX FINE] BY JEFF DEENEY On Thursday May 19th, WHYY’s Radio Times was going to air a segment featuring me and a local psychiatrist talking about the alarming rise of PCP in Philly’s black and Latin communities and the massive social costs associated with a drug that can prove ruinous to chronic users’ mental health. You would have heard first hand accounts from the inpatient director of Einstein Medical Center about the steady stream of PCP-related involuntary commitments to the hospital’s psych unit, and the difficulties associated working with patients suffering from severe, acute episodes of profound drug […]