Articles on Mass incarceration

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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.
More than 40 lynchings have been documented in Maryland. Shutterstock

Maryland has created a truth commission on lynchings – can it deliver?

The first truth commission to research lynchings has been established in Maryland. It has the potential to educate the public about and support racial reconciliation. But it also faces obstacles.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, front, after she signed a law that allows pay-for-success funding for projects aiming to reduce female incarceration rates. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Social impact bonds, explained

These partnerships between investors, governments and nonprofits are a new way to pay for programs and services that help people in need and address intractable problems like mass incarceration.

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