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.

A view from the corridor of a prison with an incarcerated person inside cell doorway.

Pricey prison phone calls prohibitive for incarcerated people, study finds

By: - December 31, 2022

People who make phone calls from state prisons and local jails often get price-gouged, with recent reforms falling short in preventing telephone companies from exploiting incarcerated people, a new national study found. As the cost of calls approaches zero outside the prison walls, incarcerated people are forced to pay charges few can afford, threatening their […]

Senator wants to force utilities to offer federal aid for residents behind on water bills

By: - November 21, 2022

Almost 150,000 households in New Jersey owe nearly $45 million in unpaid water bills, but they can’t access federal aid that absolves arrearages because most of the state’s utilities don’t participate in the assistance program. So a Democratic state lawmaker from Camden County aims to fix that by setting new rules and penalties for utilities […]

People walk past debris in the area where a 2000-foot section of the "uptown" boardwalk was destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Sandy

A decade after Hurricane Sandy, fight to reform disaster relief continues

By: - October 27, 2022

After Hurricane Sandy flooded Robert Lukasiewicz’s home a block from the bay in Atlantic City, the problems piled up. Contractors pocketed his money but never finished their work. He couldn’t afford flood insurance, making him ineligible for some relief funds. Caring for terminally ill relatives kept him from rebuilding for several years. Then the pandemic […]

Laura Mercandetti, a forensic accountant with the New Jersey State Commission on Investigation

Addiction recovery industry rife with abuse, state investigators say

By: - October 12, 2022

TRENTON, New Jersey – While most new businesses take up to two years to become profitable, and a quarter fail their first year, Nicholas DeSimone bucked those trends, big-time. The Mullica Hill businessman made $15 million in three years after opening his first addiction recovery center, according to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation. […]

Representatives Al Green of Texas, Ritchie Torres of New York and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey at a House Committee on Homeland Security in Teaneck, New Jersey

Anti-hate experts call on feds to step up against rising antisemitism

By: - October 3, 2022

TEANECK, New Jersey – Last week, Scott Richman did something unusual as he prepared for Rosh Hashana services at his synagogue. He draped a device with a panic button around his neck to alert authorities in case the unimaginable happened. “Like so many worshippers, I spent the service distracted by the fear that our synagogue […]

an exterior view of prison cells

Inflation hits wallets of people in prison, even as their wages have flatlined

By: - September 28, 2022

The first time Paul Whittaker was incarcerated in New Jersey, he worked behind bars as a teacher’s assistant. He made $2 a day. Last year, when a parole violation landed him back in prison, he was assigned the “job” of staying in his locked cell all day and keeping it clean. Daily pay: $1.20. If […]

Marie Holmes waits to purchase legal recreational marijuana

‘It’s cannabis Christmas!’ N.J. celebrates the first day of legal recreational marijuana

By: and - April 21, 2022

At 13 medical dispensaries authorized to sell recreational cannabis on the first day New Jersey’s recreational marijuana market opened, sales started as early at 6 a.m. in some locations, and lines continued to wrap around storefronts past noon.