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Articles on Mass incarceration

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Activists wave flags in front of the U.S. Capitol to demand that Congress pass cannabis reform legislation on Oct. 8, 2019. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Legalizing marijuana, once a pipe dream on Capitol Hill, takes an important step forward

A cannabis decriminalization bill approved by the House is a sign from Congress that sentiment around the drug is evolving, but it misses a chance to regulate marijuana for the good of all Americans.
Prison education programs have been shown to improve job prospects. Thinkstock/Getty Images

Congress lifts long-standing ban on Pell grants to people in prison

For the first time since 1994, incarcerated individuals can get federal aid to pay for college. A prison education scholar explains how higher education helps those who have run afoul of the law.
According to Oregon law, possessing a small amount of drugs for personal consumption is now a civil – rather than criminal – offense. Peter Dazeley via Getty

Oregon just decriminalized all drugs – here’s why voters passed this groundbreaking reform

Possessing heroin, cocaine, meth and other drugs for personal use is no longer a criminal offense in Oregon. The idea is to get people with problem drug use help, not punishment.
Despite criticism during her first term, progressive prosecutor Kim Foxx won reelection as Cook County state’s attorney by a 14-point margin. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Progressive prosecutors scored big wins in 2020 elections, boosting a nationwide trend

Reform-minded prosecutors across the US notched victories against traditional law-and-order candidates by running on progressive platforms to reduce mass incarceration and tackle police misconduct.
Dade Correctional Institution where mentally ill prisoner Darren Rainey was locked in a shower stall and died in June 2012. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

People are dying in US prisons, and not just from COVID-19

Violence in the criminal-justice system isn’t limited to police. It’s time to pay more attention to violent deaths within state prisons.
Calls for help at Chicago’s Cook County jail, where hundreds of inmates and staff have COVID-19, April 9, 2020. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

Prisons and jails are coronavirus epicenters – but they were once designed to prevent disease outbreaks

In the 1790s, penal reformers rebuilt America’s squalid jails as airy, hygienic places meant to keep residents – and by extension society – healthy. Now they’re hotbeds of COVID-19. What went wrong?
The annual report from Canada’s prison watchdog paints a bleak picture of a prison system where violence between and against prisoners is concerning. (Shutterstock)

Canadian penitentiaries: Dangerous for aging and palliative prisoners

This year’s oversight report into the penitentiary system shows that long-standing problems have become entrenched in Canada’s federal prisons.
Kamala Harris’ campaign fizzled as her past as a prosecutor haunted her candidacy. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

How being ‘tough on crime’ became a political liability

More and more district attorney candidates are running on reversing the government’s traditional approach to crime and punishment. And they’re winning.
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other place in the world. Warehousing people in prison is costly and unsustainable. Shutterstock

Prisons are not the answer to preventing crime

Putting more people in prison is not the answer to reducing crime. New fair and bias free assessment tools may help.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are among the 2020 presidential hopefuls in favor of reparations. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Reparations are essential to eliminating the substantial wealth gap between black and white Americans

Several presidential hopefuls have offered proposals to close the racial wealth gap, from baby bonds to reparations. A simulation suggests policies short of direct aid to blacks won’t do the trick.
Evidence suggests that Muslim men in France have been disproportionately arrested and jailed for cannabis-related crimes since the drug became illegal in 1970. Francisco Osorio/flickr

French cannabis legalization debate ignores race, religion and the mass incarceration of Muslims

Muslims make up 9% of France’s population and half of all its prisoners – many convicted on drug charges. But social justice isn’t part of the country’s growing debate on legalization.
Less than one percent of state and local drug arrests involve amounts over a kilogram. content_creator/Shutterstock.com

Most US drug arrests involve a gram or less

A study of over 700,000 state and local drug arrests shows that two out of three cases involve a small amount of illegal drugs.

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